Open Handset Alliance Member Profiles (Week #4 – Broadcom )
For 34 weeks, each Tuesday, Jordan from fandroid.net will be joining us to offer a profile of each of the 34 members of the Open Handset Alliance.
Company Name: Broadcom Corporation
How the OHA site classifies them: Semiconductor Company
What the OHA site says about them: Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, providing products that enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment.
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What they do: They build chips.
Wikipedia proclaims them “…among the Worldwide Top 20 Semiconductor Sales Leaders.” Their site list their offerings as including Bluetooth products, network processing solutions, digital cable products, digital TV solutions, satellite devices, DSL chipsets, mobile multimedia processors, mobile phone solutions, networking components, security processors, I/O integrated circuits, storage solutions, VOIP solutions, WLAN solutions, and Ethernet solutions. They got solutions.
Broadcom is probably best known for their NICs. There’s a good chance that the network card in the PC you’re currently reading this article on was designed by Broadcom.
Of course, Broadcom doesn’t really build any of this. Rather, it employs Asian people to do the building for them.
Special Feature: What is up with the Broadcom vs. Qualcomm conflict?
It’s complicated, and probably less exciting than you’d think. Basically, these two seem to get off on suing each other, and have been doing so for a few years now.
The most recent and most interesting contest started back in May of 2005, when Broadcom went after Qualcomm with a lawsuit over 10 supposed patent infringments, as well as a complaint with the US International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging unfair trade practices by importing products that infringe Broadcom patents. Then, in July of the same year Broadcom launched a couple more lawsuits accusing Qualcomm of violating antitrust laws.
Then a bunch of legal stuff happened.
The ITC eventually blocked the import of new cellphone models based on infringing Qualcomm chips, a jury awarded Broadcom $19.6 billion dollars, and, most recently, a federal judge has ordered Qualcomm to stop selling the contested chips.
So, like, ouch for Qualcomm.
I’m no legal reporter. This stuff makes my molars ache. Basically, these two hate each other. It makes Thanksgiving at the OHA household a tense affair. Let’s leave it at that.
What they bring to OHA and Android: Semiconductors. And, given their history with Qualcomm, domestic violence.
Broadcom kinda has its fingers in everything, including LiMo, a partnership with Trolltech, and now Android. Whether this means they’ll have a meaningful contribution to make in the Linux handset space or that they’re just lurking to keep options open for the future remains to be seen.