ST Microelectronics and mobile phone maker Ericsson have combined their wireless chip divisions into a joint venture with 8,000 employees.

The new company will be based in Geneva, Switzerland and brings together what were formally called Ericsson Mobile Platforms and ST-NXP Wireless. It is now a supplier to four of the top five cell phone makers and will have combined revenues of about $3.6 billion for 2008. It also has $400 million in cash.

Alain Dutheil will be president and CEO of ST-Ericsson. This is one of those signs of consolidation in the semiconductor space as big companies find that the tab for designing and manufacturing chips in billion-dollar factories just keeps getting bigger.

The company is designing all sorts of chips for cell phones, including radio processors, Bluetooth wireless chips, and satellite navigation chips. Customers include Nokia, Samsung, Sony, Ericsson, LG and Sharp. The company will not own its own factories but will use ST Microelectronics and others to build its chips.

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