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Date:02/08/12

Power rangers: Fujitsu, Docomo and NEC form smartphone chip venture

Three major Japanese technology companies are investing in a new "fabless" semiconductor startup, intended to capture a share of the burgeoning market for smartphone chips.
The venture, called Access Network Technology, has been set up by Fujitsu, mobile phone operator Docomo and technology conglomerate NEC.

Fujitsu, which will own 52.8 per cent of Access Network Technology, was originally planning to set up the new company on its own, but now Docomo and NEC have taken stakes of 19.9 per cent and 17.8 per cent respectively.Fujitsu Semiconductor, meanwhile, will own the remaining 9.5 per cent.

The companies have said that the new company will focus on the development of smartphone chips that control wireless communication and signals. It will also look into solutions for high-speed 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) mobile network communications, as well as true next generation technology. Production, say the companies, will be outsourced.

Fujitsu has also stated that it aims to gain a seven per cent global share of the market for smartphone chips by 2014.

It may seem a lofty ambition, but after Qualcomm announced in April that it was having trouble meeting demand for its mobile chips earlier this year, and with reported problems over software compatibility with its chip designs during development of the Windows RT hardware range, there's clearly room for fresh competition in the market.

It's also worth noting, however, that the same three companies – with the addition of Panasonic – were due to go into business together in 2011 with Samsung Electronics to form a smartphone chip operation, but the deal fell through in April 2012 due to disagreements over partnership terms.




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