Qualcomm’s Flarion, a WiMAX end game?

14 thoughts on “Qualcomm’s Flarion, a WiMAX end game?”

  1. Media industry is over populated with its share of morons, but those people better wake up and smell what the Q has cooking!!!

    My crystal balls says the Qualcomm is going to have a future date with the fun folks in the “Anti-Trust” section of the DOJ.

  2. This is great news for Flarion, but I’m having trouble guessing what Qualcomm could be thinking. Flarion’s products so far have been FDD and as such are poised only to compete against existing Qualcomm products, not the WiMax stuff that Qualcomm needs to worry about. I could see the logic in Qualcomm acquiring Navini or Airspan, as they are TDD WiMax players. The differentiator for Flarion may be their unique (Flash) take on OFDM and its suitability as money making IP (a la Qualcomm’s take on CDMA), but how can Qualcomm leverage both at the same time when they (CDMA and OFDM) are two competing approaches to solving the same problem? If this was just a move to get a brain transfusion, isn’t $600M way too much? The only other thing I can think of is that Qualcomm wants to use Flarion’s stuff to get into the 802.20 game the way Intel got into the 802.16 game and use that as their counter stroke in case this whole bypassing the cariers and selling to munis thing takes off.

  3. Jesse, WiMax is junk, pure BS put out by a rudderless Intel to seem relevant. Its nowhere’s ville. (Btw, AMD’s 64bit servers blow Intel away)

    Om, you nailed it. QCOM is expert at positioning itself as a gatekeeper for the wireless ecosystem.

    I think we’ll see more analyst comments in the future about W-CDMA and HSPDA, ie. do they make sense anymore? Remember QCOM gets the same royalties off W-CDMA as CDMA.

    My first post on this thread may have been too obtuse, but the people that should be paying attention here are the media guys.

    QCOM owns MediaFLO, lock stock and barrel. Starting with the spectrum, the network, the production workflow, and the DRM. (Microsoft can only dream of this kinda control)

    Whats bad for VZW and Sextel, is that now QCOM will own the relationship with the content players, and turn the carriers into bitpipes for the reverse link. Suckers.

    Wanna release a Music Video? Got a new DVD coming out next Tuesday? Who ya gonna call? QCOM’s MediaFLO, baby!!!

    QCOM has done very well capturing loads of the carrier CAPEX spend, and now they’re prepared to tap the ARPU stream.

  4. Charlie, from where I sit (close to the ground) WiMax is doing very well. I don’t buy the argument that Flarion’s stuff is so good that all it needed was QCOM’s stamp to make it the defacto standard for 3G+. The problem is that the alternatives are all too viable. If I’m an Ericsson or Nokia and I want to play in the OFDM world, why would I pay royalties to Qualcomm when I could go with WiMax for free? QCOM is a smart company and I’m sure they have a good reason for buying Flarion, but I don’t see it and I haven’t heard it from anyone here.

  5. Obviously, this is all a bit confusing to me as to how Flarion patents suddenly become precious gold and how QCom suddenly becomes interested in Wimax and standards. But one thing for certain – I have never seen such a momentous shift in power in a technology in just one simple move. I mean, if this were a game, (which you could argue it is), why did someone not block this maneuver of QCom by taking Flarion off the market. This beats a suicide bunt in the final inning of the World Series and finding the pitcher AND catcher sleeping. I’ve followed Alvarion and Wimax in unbeknownst ignorance that this sort of thing could happen. And Intel of all the losers, still come up short in the communications area. Wow, what a game!

  6. Echoing Rick, I would not be happy now if I was running a major handset vendor, either. The balance of power in the value chain has just shifted — dramatically. The carriers are also much weaker. A lot of people are going to be kicking themselves 3-4 years down the road on this one.

    I’m not sure what this spells for J2ME, but it doesn’t look pretty. If you’re a mobile app developer, now might be a really good time to read up on BREW.

    This is probably a win for MS, as it bring the commodity bit pipe closer, and it makes it easier to find desperate carriers who’ll sell their souls for tuppence.

  7. Om, I’ve spent the evening reading the analysis on this deal trying to determine what the long term repercussions will be, especially to competitive enterprise. Your commentary is hands down the most incisive, specific and in my opinion accurate assesment of this transaction and how the ripples will spread across the wireless landscape.

    I’ve mentioned your comments here: http://www.wireless-weblog.com.

    Thanks for your excellent work!

    -Oliver Starr “stitch:

  8. qualcomm-flarions products may be cheaper in terms of total cost of ownership for network operators. They dont need to go the circuit switched technology instead they get a mobile-ip based platoform…
    Weather its cheaper than wimax remains to be seen.
    Also theres the big fundamental question. ie if there’s a market for such services and how much premium is some one willing to pay for it.

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