Qualcomm acquires Arteris' NoC tech assets, team

Confirming rumors that a deal was in the works, a subsidiary of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has acquired technology asssets and hired nearly two dozen employees from Arteris, a French firm that licenses network-on-chip (NoC) interconnect IP technology.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Deep Chip reported a rumored $224 million price tag last week, which it said "seems high."

Arteris claims its technology is licensed to six of the top 10 semiconductor makers, including Qualcomm, LG, Samsung and Texas Instruments. Arteris' technology accelerates system-on-chip (SoC) semiconductor assembly for a wide range of applications and is used in many mobile device system-on-chip (SoC) projects, including Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors.

In an unusual twist, Arteris has promised to continue supporting third-party FlexNoc customers and will retain "the right to license, support and maintain the existing Arteris FlexNoC and Arteris FlexLLI product lines in order to fulfill existing and new licensing contracts."

Further, Qualcomm Technologies agreed to make certain FlexNoC updates available to Arteris based upon an agreed-upon schedule and will provide engineering support to Arteris.

"Arteris' NoC technology has been and will continue to be a key enabler for creating larger and more complex chips in a shorter amount of time at a lower cost," said K. Charles Janac, the company's president and CEO.  

However, rival Sonics, which last week called out Arteris for not immediately revealing its changed relationship with Qualcomm, contends such an arrangement will not accommodate Arteris' non-Qualcomm customers. In an open letter to Janac, Sonics CEO Grant Pierce last week asked, "How will you keep up with new system requirements, new protocols and customer feature requests without your original engineering team?"

Nonetheless, Will Strauss, principal at Arizona research firm Forward Concepts, told EE Times, that he sees a future for Arteris. "I think Arteris will continue to do very well," he said.  

Perhaps to emphasize the prospects for its continuing business, Arteris also announced that Access Network Technology has licensed the Arteris FlexNoC interconnect IP fabric for use in its newest mobile LTE modem baseband chip. Access is a recently formed joint venture created by Fujitsu NTT DoCoMo and NEC.

For more:
- see this Arteris release and this release
- see this EE Times article

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