Nvidia Goes After ST-Ericsson And Qualcomm With Icera Buy

Nvidia's purchase of Bristol-based semiconductor specialist Icera for around £225 million shouldn't come as a surprise as the ARM ecosystems gradually goes through a first phase of consolidation.

It shows clearly that Nvidia wants to compete with ST-Ericsson and Qualcomm amongst others, which it has already identified as two of its most potent rivals.

Buying a baseband specialist means that Nvidia will be able to integrate Icera's proprietary programmable baseband processors, which are used in 3G and 4G devices like smartphones and tablets, into its own Tegra system on chip.

This not only makes product development smoother and therefore reduce time to market, it also provides a unique selling point, reduces reliance on third parties, cuts down on research and development and licensing costs and weakens competitors who were depending on the technology for their own system on chips - like Texas Instruments.

It's no surprise that Qualcomm purchased Atheros at the beginning of the year for $3.1 billion and that ST-Ericsson touts its baseband expertise as one of its main unique selling points.

The purchase of Icera means that there are only a few Baseband manufacturers left on the market and their shares are likely to appreciate significantly following Nvidia's move.