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Atmel, Qualcomm form foundry alliance

Posted: 12 Jul 2004 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:qualcomm? rf? if transceiver?

Securing a new source of supply, Qualcomm Inc. has reportedly struck a product and foundry deal with Atmel Corp., according to a report from RBC Capital Markets Inc. on Wednesday (July 7, 2004).

"Based on our checks, we believe [Atmel] has secured an RF/IF transceiver design win with Qualcomm," Satya Chillara, an analyst with RBC, an investment banking firm here, said in the report.

Atmel will reportedly make the RF transceiver line on a foundry basis for San Diego-based Qualcomm, but details of the chip were not disclosed in the report. "We believe Qualcomm has added Atmel in addition to IBM and Motorola Semi for foundry services," Chillara said. "We expect production will begin in Q3 with potential upside to our RF/Automotive estimates in Q4 and 2005."

Before the deal, Qualcomm's foundry partners included IBM Corp.'s Microelectronics Division and Freescale Semiconductor Inc., formerly Motorola Inc.'s Semiconductor Product Sector. Qualcomm also has foundry business with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd and others.

The deal with Qualcomm is expected to boost Atmel, which is expected to improve its profitability picture in 2004 despite missing the flash-memory window and suffering from excess wafer-fab capacity, according to a recent report from RBC (see April 16 story).

Until now, the outlook was clouded for Atmel's RF chip business. Its RF expertise came from the acquisition of Germany's Temic in 1998. Since 2000, the company's RF business has been on the decline as the company's biggest customer, Motorola, pulled most of its business from Atmel, according to RBC.

- Mark Lapedus

Silicon Strategies

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