Why MaxLinear is acquiring Silicon Motion

Article By : Majeed Ahmad

MaxLinear buying Silicon Motion is a harbinger of integration of connectivity solutions with next-generation memory technology.

The news about MaxLinear acquiring Silicon Motion for $3.8 billion seems like an attempt to seek the riches in the red-hot data center market. MaxLinear, which supplies silicon for connectivity and infrastructure solutions, wants to get hold of solid-state drive (SSD) controller silicon, a key ingredient of data center electronics, in order to be competitive with the likes of Marvell.

It’s worth mentioning here that the Taipei-based Silicon Motion offers client-based SSD solutions, while Marvell is strong in both client- and enterprise-oriented HDD solutions and SSD controllers. It means that MaxLinear and Silicon Motion will have to make a foray into the enterprise SSD solutions based on the future types of 3D NAND devices to be competitive in the data center space.

According to Bloomberg, MediaTek, a developer of system-on-chips (SoCs) for smartphones, tablets, PCs and consumer electronics, was also interested in buying Silicon Motion, a developer of SSD controllers and turnkey solid-state drives. That underscores the strategic importance of the NAND flash controller technology in the long-term storage requirements.

Combining semiconductors for networking and infrastructure with enterprise storage silicon looks like a good complement for a diversified set of end-markets, including data center, smart home and industrial applications. It’s also a harbinger of another level of integration in the technology stack for both client and enterprise designs.

And that most likely sums up the story behind this semiconductor industry deal.

This article was originally published on EDN.

Majeed Ahmad, Editor-in-Chief of EDN and Planet Analog, has covered the electronics design industry for more than two decades.


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