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Qualcomm to man 802.11n toll-booth

15 января 2007
ABI research's Phil Solis calculates that only about a third of Qualcomm's earnings come from licensing fees (many cell phones use Qualcomm's CDMA, and Qualcomm collected $2.75 billion in licensing fees in its most recent fiscal year). Still, it is difficult to think of another technology company in the strategic moves of which licensing fees, royalties, and sheer zest for litigation play such a prominent role.

Just as Qualcomm's acquisition of Flarion raised the specter of a drawn out litigation campaign over WiMAX patents, the company's acquisition of Airgo will likely lead to litigation over 802.11n. Peter Judge writes that the controversy about Qualcomm's Draft 2.0 announcement "may well pale beside likely intellectual property issues." Qualcomm's vice president Enrico Salvatori says he knows the value of Airgo's MIMO patents: "We will continue to push our business model, based on enabling OEMs delivering products based on our essential patents and IPR." Salvatori's comment should be layered on top of what Airgo's CEO Greg Raleigh said last year: "802.11n is Airgo's technology... Our intellectual property is wrapped up throughout. There appears to be a market north of 2.5 billion chipsets, and 80 percent of the WiFi market will be 802.11n by the end of 2007." Judge concludes: "Whatever Qualcomm does in FMC, we'd be very surprised not to see it following up the potential revenue stream from the patents."


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