Intel boosts mobile aspirations with GNSS purchase

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Intel has confirmed the purchase of satellite navigation IP from ST-Ericsson for an undisclosed sum.

The chipmaker has acquired the assets and IP relating to Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technology. This marks the first acquisition by newly-installed CEO Brian Krzanich.

As part of the transaction, 130 employees will move over to Intel's mobile and communications group's (MCG) wireless platform R&D (WPRD) organisation. Employees based in the UK will remain here.

By selling the business division, ST-Ericsson confirmed it would reduce its outgoings by $90 million.

The technology could help Intel in its efforts to catch up to ARM licensees in the mobile market. Fellow semi-conductor firm Qualcomm already has a strong IP in relation to GNSS. Qualcomm has also secured a number of important partnership wins, with the firm's chips powering popular handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Krzanich appears keen to help Intel accelerate his push into the mobile market. A leaked memo to staff from the CEO suggested that he felt Intel has not reacted to the popularity of smartphones and tablets quickly enough.

"As your CEO I am committed to making quick, informed decisions. I am committed to being bolder, moving faster, and accepting that this means changes will be made knowing that we will listen, learn and then make adjustments in order to keep pace with a rapidly changing industry," Krzanich is reported to have told staff.

"Our business faces significant challenges, and we simply must continue to execute while finalising our future strategy."

One of the CEO's first tasks was to create a new mobile division, which will be headed up Mike Bell, who was the general manager of Intel's mobile and communications group.

Khidr Suleman is the Technical Editor at IT Pro, a role he has fulfilled since March 2012. He is responsible for the reviews section on the site  - so get in touch if you have a product you think might be of interest to the business world. He also covers the hardware and operating systems beats. Prior to joining IT Pro, Khidr worked as a reporter at Incisive Media. He studied law at the University of Reading and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism and Online Writing at PMA Training.