Nvidia has announced that it is winding down its Icera modem operations, which employs around 500 people, mainly in the UK and France. The divestment process should complete by the fiscal Q2 of 2016 - but the firm is also open to offers for the technology and/or operations. Icera was acquired in 2011 for US$367 million and the first Nvidia processor to come packaged with an integrated Icera LTE modem was the Tegra 4i chip announced at CES 2013.
Strategy refocuses away from smartphones
Icera was originally purchased in 2011 to provide an in-house integrated modem platform for the Nvidia Tegra mobile chips. Nvidia has now got an Icera 4G LTE modem that it is satisfied with and is suitable for the company's needs leading up to Q2 2016. If after that time a modem component is required for an SoC, for example, Nvidia will partner with third party suppliers and not develop its own solution.
Nvidia says that its refocused strategy centres on "high-growth opportunities in gaming, automotive and cloud computing applications like deep learning, where its visual computing expertise is greatly valued". Obviously the firm doesn't see any value in using its own modem IP within such products.
Bloomberg notes that Nvidia has joined rivals such as Texas Instruments Inc., Broadcom Corp. and Freescale Semiconductor Ltd in exiting the smartphone processor market. This is a very competitive market dominated by Qualcomm and Samsung and being encroached upon by Chinese manufacturers.
Nvidia will release its Q1 2016 financials on Thursday (Friday in UK time). There will be a webcast discussing Icera and many other aspects of the business accompanying the results.