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Synaptics, Broadcom Deal on IoT

August 4, 2020

Author: Bob Wheeler

When only one party wants to talk about a deal, confusion can reign. Such is the case with Synaptics’ recent deal with Broadcom covering IoT wireless connectivity. The former announced the deal, whereas the latter was silent. Adding to the muddle, Broadcom sold its IoT-dedicated wireless products to Cypress in 2016, raising questions as to what was left for Synaptics. In fact, Synaptics is paying $250 million in cash for licenses to use Broadcom Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS technology in the IoT market. This technology comes from Broadcom’s combo chips, which it primarily develops for Apple and Samsung smartphones.

The agreement enables Synaptics to manufacture and sell a range of existing Broadcom chips that include the latest Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, and GPS technologies. The licenses are limited to the IoT market, and the deal precludes Broadcom from licensing others in that market for three years. The companies withheld the list of products, but it likely includes standalone Bluetooth and GPS chips as well as Wi-Fi+Bluetooth combos. Synaptics will also acquire Broadcom’s existing IoT business for these products and an associated support team of about 60 people. Under the agreement, the latter company will additionally develop two products aimed at the IoT market, for which the former will receive licenses and one year of exclusivity.

The Broadcom deal fits into Synaptics’ broader diversification strategy and complements the media processors the company acquired from Marvell in 2017. Broadcom’s combo chips should work with the powerful VideoSmart processors in much the same way they work with smartphone application processors.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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