Qualcomm sells Vuforia augmented reality unit to software company PTC for $65M

Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) said it will sell its Vuforia augmented reality business to software firm PTC for $65 million. The terms of the transaction were confirmed by a Qualcomm spokesperson, and Qualcomm said it expects the deal to close by the end of 2015.

The deal comes a little more than a month after Re/code first reported that Qualcomm was looking to offload the unit. Qualcomm is in the midst of a major reorganization and is cutting $1.4 billion in costs, slashing more than 4,500 jobs from its workforce, changing some of its corporate practices and reviewing whether to split up its chipset and licensing units.

Although Qualcomm is shedding jobs and expenses, the company continues to invest in areas it believes are worthwhile. In August the company acquired chipmaker Ikanos Communications in an all-cash transaction valued at about $47 million. The purchase will boost Qualcomm's presence in the home gateway segment of the carrier fixed-line market.

It's unclear how many jobs might be cut or transferred to PTC as a result of the deal. Qualcomm said PTC plans to extend job offers to all Qualcomm employees on the Vuforia team.

Qualcomm launched Vuforia five years ago as a way to highlight the capabilities of its chipsets and software and bring augmented reality into mainstream mobile computing. That seems to fit with PTC's vision, which specializes in 2D and 3D design software.

According to Qualcomm, Vuforia is "supported by a global ecosystem of 175,000+ registered developers and has powered 20,000+ apps with more than 200 million app installs worldwide." The operation offers an SDK to developers that allows them to build Android and iOS apps that offer augmented reality services, which project virtual objects and overlays onto physical views of the real world. Those using Vuforia include Wildlandia, McDonald's and others.

"We share PTC's vision for a connected world and look forward to seeing the Vuforia mobile platform continuing to flourish under PTC's leadership," Qualcomm President Derek Aberle said in a statement. "Qualcomm will continue to drive computer vision technology that will unlock a wide variety of applications for consumers and businesses around the world."

The deal also comes as many technology companies and OEMs take an increasing interest in augmented reality and virtual reality headsets. In May Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) acquired augmented reality firm Metaio, a Munich, Germany-based company that was the winner of a 2012 FierceWireless Fierce 15 award. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has placed a big bet on HoloLens, its augmented reality headset that runs on Windows 10 and will ship a "Developer Edition" of the device that costs $3,000 early next year to a select group of people who apply for the gadget. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics, HTC, Oculus VR and others are focused on virtual reality headsets, especially for mobile gaming, and last month Samsung unveiled a new Gear VR headset that will cost $99 and work with its new Galaxy smartphones.

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