RF Micro Devices to purchase IBM’s GPS operation

RF Micro Devices has agreed to purchase IBM’s GPS development operation and ultimately will use the technology to provide GPS solutions to handset manufacturers.

RF Micro Devices has agreed to purchase IBM’s GPS development operation. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed during RFMD’s fiscal third quarter.

The acquisition provides RFMD with GPS technology as well as access to IBM’s chipscale packaging technology. The GPS development operation was first to introduce GPS solutions using Silicon Germanium (SiGe) technology, which reduces size, power consumption and noise, and enables higher levels of integration on a chip.

As part of the transaction, IBM has agreed to transfer to RFMD intellectual property associated with these products, for which RFMD plans to file for patent protection.

IBM’s GPS development operation will be incorporated into RFMD’s Communications Semiconductor Division, and RFMD will add two new design centres in Fishkill, NY and Irvine, CA as a result of the transaction.

The addition of GPS solutions and expertise expands RFMD’s product portfolio and customer base. Products currently shipping include GPS chipsets, which include a digital signal processor, low noise amplifier and RF integrated circuit, and GPS engine modules, which combine the components of the GPS chipsets with the components necessary to interface with the end-user device.

Ultimately, RFMD plans to use the GPS technology and engineering resources it has acquired to provide GPS solutions to handset manufacturers, a trend expected to accelerate as wireless service providers seek new data-based services.

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