CSR acquires Ubinetics for $48 million

MUMBAI: Following its announcement to acquire UbiNetics’ software business, CSR announced that the R&D talent in the company’s Bangalore centre is to play a key role in developing important wireless handset technologies.



These technologies include 3G and HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) protocol software, and UMA (unlicensed mobile access). CSR will gain 200+ staff on successful completion of the UbiNetics acquisition and around 140 of these are based in the Bangalore development centre in India – this centre will become known as CSR India after completion.



The Bangalore unit contains a strong R&D team that will also help CSR accelerate its existing software developments in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and UWB (ultra wide band). Through developments in 3G, HSDPA and UMA, the UbiNetics’ team will also give CSR the capacity to extend its software offering to mobile handset customers.



CSR has seen phenomenal growth in its sales and market, recently announcing 29 per cent growth in operating profit compared with the same period in 2004. CSR’s leading BlueCore Bluetooth silicon continues to feature in over 50 per cent of all Bluetooth devices shipped and over 60 per cent of all qualified Bluetooth enabled products and modules listed on the Bluetooth website, with industry leaders including Nokia, Dell, Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp, Motorola, IBM, Apple, NEC, Toshiba, RIM and Sony using BlueCore devices in their range of Bluetooth products.

CSR chief executive officer John Hodgson said, "In announcing the intent to acquire UbiNetics, we are exploiting our distinctive capabilities by extending CSR’s capacity for sustainable innovation and by improving our ability to be flexible to market needs. There is great synergy here, the UbiNetics R&D team in Bangalore will be joining CSR to give us a world leading wireless software capability that will help sustain our clear competitive advantage."

UbiNetics has been developing protocol stacks for GSM, GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA (UMTS) and HSDPA since 1999 and this expertise will help to reinforce CSR’s offering to cellular handset customers. CSR plans to use this existing intellectual property to provide multimode software to handset makers and to “bundle” UbiNetics’ cellular multimode and HSDPA stacks with CSR’s existing wireless protocol and DSP software. CSR will support UbiNetics’ existing customers for its cellular multimode software, and will seek new business in this area, licensing its software to mobile phone companies.

UbiNetics’ R&D team will also help CSR to develop UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) voice and data software for fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) handsets. UMA makes FMC a reality since it enables mobile networks to seamlessly extend across Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. CSR expects UMA to extend the potential market for its UniFi, BlueCore and in future, UWB integrated circuits. Examples of FMC networks already in development today include BT’s Fusion and Korea Telecom’s One Phone. The combination of the HSDPA protocol stack and Wi-Fi with their well-matched data rates will allow UMA to be extended from today’s voice-centric solutions to high-speed wireless data applications.

The strength of CSR’s software development team has increasingly proven to be a key differentiator between CSR and its competitors, and with this acquisition, CSR moves closer to its target of 60 per cent of its headcount being involved in software. CSR’s stated aim has been to continue investing in R&D to preserve the long-term future of the business.

CSR chief technical officer and co-founder James Collier said, "CSR continues to grow its software development activities. In the mobile phone market we see both call hand-off between cellular and local area networks and high speed data handling as key drivers for the widespread deployment of PAN and LAN. Together with UbiNetics, we will have all the experience, skills, track record and staff required to design the software for Universal Mobile Access and fixed-mobile converged phones. Looking ahead, we plan to extend the range of our products in order to simplify the complex integration task of the mixed hardware/software and multi-standard system that a cellular phone has become."

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