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NEC partners with Matsushita, courts TI

Posted: 02 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:cellphone? NEC? Matsushita? TI? Texas Instruments?

Seeking to boost its cellphone business, NEC Corp. has forged an alliance with Matsushita and is seeking a similar deal with Texas Instruments.

NEC and Matsushita have been collaborating on cellphone development under a program called "PN." "We agreed to consider deepening the collaboration," said NEC president Kaoru Yano. "Involving TI, we are now talking about the possibility of a three-company alliance." NEC and Matsushita are jointly developing middleware for cellphones. The partners are discussing broader collaboration, including joint cellphone design.

NEC is also negotiating with TI to jointly develop signal transmission chips. NEC hopes to use TI's strong sales channels to reach global cellphone vendors. That would create the possibility that jointly-developed chips could be distributed globally.

However, NEC's current focus is Matsushita. "It is important to win first in Japan's handset market," said Yano. Matsushita and NEC compete in Japan's cellphone market. An alliance would allow the two companies to combine functions like procurement.

Matsushita's Panasonic Mobile Communications acknowledged that the two companies are in talks, but said Matsushita was leading the effort. TI Japan declined to comment.

NEC's handset and semiconductor businesses suffered big losses during the last fiscal year ending in March. Its handset business dropped by about 24 percent to about $4 billion in the last fiscal year.

Along with the possible alliances, NEC has cut cellphone R&D costs by 40 percent and is reviewing overseas operations.

- Yoshiko Hara
EE Times

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