Broadcom sets out its plans for NFC

Three months after it announced plans to buy NFC specialist Innovision for US$47.5m, the deal has completed and Broadcom VP Craig Ochikubo has spoken to NFC World about the company’s ambitions for Innovision and for the NFC market as a whole.

Broadcom's Craig Ochikubo
OCHIKUBO: Increased interest in NFC from customers led to $47.5m purchase

Craig Ochikubo, VP and general manager of Broadcom‘s Wireless Personal Area Networking division, is in charge of all the company’s short range communication technologies, including its market leading Bluetooth and WiFi products and, now, NFC.

In June, Broadcom snapped up NFC semiconductor IP leader Innovision for $47.5m — the first time a major mobile industry supplier has acquired a near field communication specialist. Now, the mobile chip manufacturer is ready to talk about its plans for NFC and Ochikubo spoke to NFC World last week about the reason for the company’s acquisition of Innovision, the timing of the deal, future product introductions and plans for the Innovision team.

Broadcom and Innovision had been talking together for about four years, Ochikubo explains, trying to decide how best to work together. This year, however, Broadcom began to realise that the NFC market was evolving fast, a much more mature infrastructure was being created and there was increased interest from Broadcom’s customers — mobile device and PC manufacturers — as well as from carriers. “They’re looking to us to make things happen quickly,” says Ochikubo. “There are multiple motivations to put the technology into products.”

“Broadcom has always been very interested in the very best companies,” Ochikubo continues, and the company has made over forty acquisitions to date. “I came to Broadcom via an acquisition ten years ago,” he adds, “so I am aware of the challenges of integrating a company.”

The company’s goal is always to become the number one provider of a technology, says Ochikubo, and Broadcom is already number one in Bluetooth and WiFi and its products are present in five of the top five handsets and in the products made by all of the top ten PC makers. “We are hoping we can create that same kind of success in the NFC market,” he explains.

The plan is to keep the Innovision team together in the UK and, says Ochikubo, “I’m expecting the majority of the team to remain here… We’re not a Gordon Gekko type of company,” he continues, referring to the ruthless asset stripper in 80s movie Wall Street. Rather, “we’re after the team that created the technology… I love it that the team is so strong and compliments Broadcom so well.”

While Ochikubo was reluctant to be drawn into discussing specific new products, Broadcom does expect to announce the first product to be developed by the new Broadcom/Innovision team in late 2010/early 2011. “We’re not interested in selling PowerPoint,” says Ochikubo, and it’s “premature to talk about specific products.” But, he adds, there is “a set of products we are working on with the Innovision team.”

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