Qualcomm Buys Atheros, Bets on Smartphones, Tablets

Qualcomm is diving into its biggest acquisition ever by buying mobile-device chipmaker Atheros for $3.1 billion. From the New York Times:

For Qualcomm, which has traditionally focused on developing its proprietary technologies for cellphones, the acquisition…signals a major shift. Qualcomm has been looking to expand beyond its core market of providing chips for wireless voice technology and move more aggressively into making chips for smartphones and tablets.

The company has long been one of the dominant players in supplying chips to wireless phones for voice communications. But in recent years, Mr. Jacobs, its chief executive, has expressed an interest in diversifying and improving iQualcomm’s product line as cellphones have evolved into smartphones and tablet computers have gained popularity. These devices require more processing power and many types of connectivity, like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Atheros, based in San Jose, Calif., is one of the leading chip makers for these new technologies, so an acquisition would allow Qualcomm, which has a market value of $82.5 billion, to make further inroads in these markets.

Tech players with deep pockets are on an M&A spree and are slowly changing the landscape of the technology industry as we know it. Within the next couple of years, whoever has the biggest and best mobile and social reaches will come out top dog.