US authorities have blocked a proposed $330 million acquisition deal, with the buy out of PLX Technology creating a “near-monopoly” for Integrated Device Technology (IDT).
The Federal Trade Commission has put an end to the deal which it ruled would create an unfair advantage in the production and sale of PCIe switches, components which perform connectivity functions in electronic devices.
According to US authorities, IDT and PLX are the two biggest players in the PCIe market, worth $100 million a year globally.
The FTC said that the two companies are currently each other’s closest and most direct competitors. By joining together in a $330 million merger deal agreed in April 2012, the resultant company would own 85 percent of the PCIe market.
In the past customers have capitalised on the rivalry between the two component firms to drive down prices, but the proposed deal would eliminate this competition, potentially affecting value and quality. The rivalry has also resulted in more innovative features and better customer service.
“PCIe switches are important components in many computing, communications and consumer products,” said Richard Feinstein, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition.
“The combination of IDT and PLX would hurt competition and lead to higher switch prices, lower innovation in the marketplace, and reduced customer service.”
Something about Integrated Device Technology has caught Qualcomm’s interest, as it has just bought the design teams from the Hollywood Quality Video and Frame Rate Conversion video processing product lines.
The buy will boost Qualcomm’s patent portfolio, and it claims to have also bought “certain related assets to Qualcomm” but does not detail them. Qualcomm hasn’t replied to our query at time of publication.
Qualcomm also does not reveal how much it paid for IDT’s teams and technology.
It does say that it thinks Hollywood Quality Video will give it a leading edge in video processing. Qualcomm believes the technology is a good fit with Snapdragon and you’ll find it twinned with integrated HQV in devices to come.
IDT claims that the HQV helps quickly work out HD images quickly using things like 1080i to 1080p HD deinterlacing. It also says it puts SD content close to HD by using pixel detail enhancement and noise reduction to get rid of unwanted artifacts after compression.
A company called Internet Machines LLC has filed a suit in the Tyler Division Texas district court alleging a string of tech companies have breached a patent it looks after.
Here’s the list of defendants: Alienware, AMD, Club 3D, Cyclone Microsystems, Dell, Extreme Engineering Solutions, Freedom USA, Custom Computers, GDA Technologies, General Electric Enterprise Solutions, Integrated Device Technology, Inventure, National Instruments, Nvidia, PLX Technology,Tigerdirect, Vadatech, and Vrose Microsystems.
All these companies, it’s alleged, have breached US patent 7,454,552, called Switching Transparent and non-Transparent Ports. The inventors are Heath Stewart, Michael de la Garrigue and Chris Haywood, but assigned to Internet Machines. The defendants are being sued for a similar patent, 7,421,532.
Internet Machines claims one or more claims of this patent cover methods and apparatus using PCI Express switches. It wants damages and a jury trial.
The Tyler Division district court is known to fast track these kind of patent cases.