Intel has seen the chaos created by the patents wars in the mobile world, so it seems that, instead of waiting to get burned like the others got, they decided to prepare ahead, by building a competitive patent arsenal.
Intel is purchasing 1,700 patents related to Wi-Fi, 3G, and LTE technologies, from Interdigital, a company from which Google recently bought some patents as well. Intel paid $375 million for the whole bunch, which seems like a low price, considering that recently, 1,000 mobile related patents went for $1 billion.
Intel is no stranger to developing wireless technologies. They've been pushing Wi-Fi since its inception with their Centrino package, and they even wanted to push WiMax, if it hadn't died so quickly. Now that they've also bought Infineon, a German company that used to make the wireless chips for Apple's iPhone (now they use Qualcomm), Intel is looking to consolidate their wireless offering in both the notebook market and (they hope) the mobile market.
“The acquisition of this portfolio of InterDigital's technologies by a global technology leader like Intel affirms the efforts of our research and development team which actively shares our innovations with the worldwide standards bodies, defining technologies that are central to the world's major wireless systems and devices,” said Scott McQuilkin, Senior Executive Vice President, Strategy and Finance at InterDigital.
“These patents will support Intel's strategic investments in the mobile segment,” said Doug Melamed, Intel Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “The addition of these patents expands our already large, strong and diverse portfolio of intellectual property.”
As Intel is moving forward with their plans to make Atom more of a complete product, like ARM does with their designs, integrated 3G and LTE technologies will be a competitive factor in the future, for everyone, not just for Intel. Qualcomm's chips are in very high demand because having integrated LTE radio brings faster times to market and other benefits.
If Intel is ever going to make a dent in the mobile world, they need all the advantages they can get.