Headquarters at UC Irvine's University Research Park
|Fate||Became a wholly owned subsidiary of Broadcom Limited after being acquired by Avago Technologies|
|Headquarters||Irvine, California, United States|
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Digital Subscriber Line
Broadcom Corporation was an American fabless semiconductor company that made products for the wireless and broadband communication industry. It was acquired by Avago Technologies in 2016 and currently[update] operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of the merged entity called Broadcom Limited. The division is headquartered in Irvine, California.
1995-2016: Founding and name changes
Broadcom Corporation was founded by professor-student pair Henry Samueli and Henry Nicholas from UCLA in 1991. In 1995 the company moved from its Westwood, Los Angeles office to Irvine, California. In 1998, Broadcom became a public company on the NASDAQ exchange (ticker symbol: BRCM) and employs about 11,750 people worldwide in more than 15 countries.
Broadcom first landed on the Fortune 500 in 2009.
In 2012, Broadcom's total revenue was $8.01 billion. In 2013, Broadcom stood at No. 327 on the Fortune 500, having climbed 17 places from its 2012 ranking of No. 344.
In May 28, 2015 chip maker Avago Technologies Ltd. agreed to buy Broadcom Corp. for $37 billion in cash and stock. At closing, which completed on February 1, 2016, Broadcom shareholders held 32% of the new Singapore-based company to be called Broadcom Limited. Hock Tan, Avago President and CEO, was named CEO of the new combined company. Dr. Samueli became Chief Technology Officer and member of the combined company's board, and Dr. Nicholas serves in a strategic advisory role within the new company. The new merged entity is named Broadcom Limited but inherits the ticker symbol AVGO. The BRCM ticker symbol was retired.
In May 2016 Cypress Semiconductor announced that it will acquire Broadcom Corporation's full portfolio of IoT products for $550 million. Under the deal, Cypress acquires Broadcom's IoT products and intellectual property for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and ZigBee connectivity, as well as Broadcom's WICED platform and SDK for developers. The deal combined Broadcom's developer tools and connectivity technologies for IoT devices with Cypress' own programmable system-on-a-chip (SoC) products that provide memory, computing and graphics processing for low-power devices.
Qualcomm litigation and settlement
On April 26, 2009, Broadcom settled four years of legal battles over wireless and other patents with Qualcomm Inc., another fabless semiconductor company headquartered in San Diego, California. The deal ended the patent litigation as well as complaints of anti-competitive behavior before trade commissions in the United States, Europe and South Korea. As part of the settlement, Qualcomm paid $891 million in cash to Broadcom over a four-year period ending June 2013.
In June 2007, the U.S. International Trade Commission blocked the import of new cell phone models based on particular Qualcomm microchips. They found that these Qualcomm microchips infringe patents owned by Broadcom. In January 2017, the FTC sued Qualcomm for allegedly engaging in unlawful tactics to maintain "a monopoly on cellular-communications chips."
On January 17, 2018, it was reported that the FTC was investigating whether Broadcam had "engaged in anticompetitive tactics in negotiations with customers," in a probe that had been ongoing for several months.
2006-2008: Stock options scandal
On July 14, 2006, Broadcom announced it had to subtract $750 million from earnings due to stock options irregularities. On September 8, 2006, the amount was doubled to $1.5 billion. The company may also owe additional taxes. On January 24, 2007, it announced a restatement of its financial results from 1998 to 2005 that totaled $2.22 billion.
On May 15, 2008, Broadcom CTO Samueli resigned as chairman of the board and took a leave of absence as Chief Technology Officer after being named in a civil complaint by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
On June 5, 2008, Broadcom co-founder and former CEO Henry Nicholas and former CFO William Ruehle were indicted on charges of illegal stock-option backdating. Nicholas was also indicted for violations of federal narcotics laws. However, in December 2009, federal judge Cormac J. Carney threw out the options backdating charges against Nicholas and Ruehle after finding that federal prosecutors improperly tried to prevent three defense witnesses from testifying.
Broadcom's product line spans computer and telecommunication networking: the company has products for enterprise/metropolitan high-speed networks, as well as products for SOHO (small-office, home-office) networks. Products include transceiver and processor ICs for Ethernet and wireless LANs, cable modems, digital subscriber line (DSL), servers, home networking devices (router, switches, port-concentrators) and cellular phones (GSM/GPRS/EDGE/W-CDMA/LTE). It is also known for a series of high-speed encryption co-processors, offloading this processor-intensive work to a dedicated chip, thus greatly speeding up tasks that utilize encryption. This has many practical benefits for e-commerce, and PGP or GPG secure communications.
The company also produces ICs for carrier access equipment, audio/video processors for digital set-top boxes and digital video recorders, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi transceivers and RF receivers/tuners for satellite TV. Major customers include Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Motorola, IBM, Dell, Asus, Lenovo, Linksys, Logitech, Nintendo, Nokia, Nortel(Avaya), TiVo, Tenda and Cisco Systems. In September 2011, Broadcom shut down its digital TV operations. Broadcom also shut down its Blu-ray chip business. The closure of these businesses began on September 19, 2011.
On June 2, 2014, Broadcom announced intentions to exit the cellular baseband business.
NICs and networking
Vendors have included Broadcom NICs in their products. For example, the Dell blade-server M610 has two embedded Gigabit NetXtreme 5709 NICs.
Another large market is hardware for switches: some vendors offer switching equipment based on Broadcom hardware and firmware (e.g. Dell PowerConnect classics) while other well-known vendors do use the Broadcom hardware but write their own firmware. The latest Broadcom Trident+ ASIC is used in many high-speed 10Gb+ switches from the largest switch-vendors such as Cisco Nexus switches running NX-OS, Dell Force10 (now Dell Networking) running FTOS/DNOS, all Arista 7050-series switches, the IBM/BNT 8264, and Juniper QFX3500.
The latest 'member' of the Trident family is the Trident II XGS which can support up to 32 x 40G ports or 104 x 10G ports (or a mix of both) on a single chip. Examples of switches using this Trident II XGS chip are the Dell Networking S6000, Cisco Nexus 9000 and some smaller vendors like: EdgeCore AS6700, Penguin Arctica 3200XL or QuantaMesh T5032
Graphics processing unit
Broadcom Crystal HD does video acceleration.
Broadcom "BCM43" series chips provide WiFi support in many Android and iPhone devices. Models include the BCM4339 used in phones such as the Nexus 5 (2013) and the BCM4361 used in the Samsung Galaxy S8 (2017). These are SoC devices with a Cortex R4 for processing the MAC and MLME layers and a proprietary Broadcom processor for the 802.11 physical layer. The chips also handle Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth and NFC.
- Broadcom supplies the WiFi+Bluetooth combo chip for Apple iPhone 3GS and later generations and corresponding iPod touch generations.
- In Q2 2005, Broadcom Corporation announced it would be providing Nintendo its “online solution on a chip” as deployed in millions of notebooks and PDAs across the globe, enabling Nintendo 802.11b connectivity with DS and 802.11g for the Wii. More specifically, Broadcom would provide Bluetooth connectivity for Wii's controller.
- In 2013 Broadcom unveiled the first 802.11ac 5G Wifi SOCs which is adopted across many mobile phones including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5, the HTC One and the LG Nexus 5. Additionally, routers from Motorola, Netgear, Huawei and Belkin also include Broadcom's 802.11ac chips.
Vulnerabilities in SoC WiFi stack
In April 2017, Google's Project Zero investigated Broadcom's SoC WiFi stack and found that it lacked "all basic exploit mitigations - including stack cookies, safe unlinking and access permission protection," allowing "full device takeover by Wi-Fi proximity alone, requiring no user interaction." Numerous smartphones, such as by Apple, Samsung and Google were affected.
Broadcom authored its own VoIP codecs in 2002, and released them as open source with LGPL license in 2009:
- BroadVoice 16 with declared bitrate 16 kbit/s and audio sampling frequency 8 kHz
- BroadVoice 32 with declared bitrate 32 kbit/s and sampling rate of 16 kHz (note however that X-Lite SIP phone's menu declares bitrate 80,000 bit/s)
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Some free and open source drivers are available and included in the Linux kernel source tree for the 802.11b/g/a/n family of wireless chips Broadcom produces. Since the release of the 2.6.26 kernel some Broadcom chips have kernel support but require external firmware to be built.
In 2003 the Free Software Foundation accused Broadcom of not complying with the GNU General Public License as Broadcom distributed GPL code in a driver for its 802.11g router chipset without making that code public.
In 2012 the Linux Foundation listed Broadcom as one of the Top 10 companies contributing to the development of the Linux Kernel for 2011, placing it in the top 5 percent of an estimated 226 contributing companies. The foundation's Linux Kernel Development report also noted that, during the course of the year, Broadcom submitted 2,916 changes to the kernel. In October, Broadcom released parts of the Raspberry Pi userland under a BSD-style license. According to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, this made it "the first ARM-based multimedia SoC with fully functional, vendor-provided (as opposed to partial, reverse-engineered) fully open-source drivers", although due to substantial binary firmware code which must be executing in parallel with the operating system, and which executes independently and prior to loading of the operating system, this claim has not been universally accepted.
Broadcom provided a Linux driver for their Broadcom Crystal HD, and they also hired Eric Anholt, a former Intel employee, to work on a free and open-source graphics device driver for their VideoCore IV.
Broadcom organizes the fabrication of the processor chip, most recently the BCM2837 chip and the wifi processor BCM43438, which is used by the charitable Raspberry Pi Foundation. The foundation requested help from Broadcom making the Raspberry Pi card, a motherboard which is free of DRM or corporate control of any kind, which can interact with hardware, and which can be bought and controlled by children.
- Henry Samueli
- Gottfried Ungerboeck, inventor of trellis coded modulation
- Henry T. Nicholas III
- Sophie Wilson, designer of the ARM CPU instruction set
- Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi single-board computer
Broadcom is known as a fabless company. It outsources all semiconductor manufacturing to Asian merchant foundries, such as GlobalFoundries, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, Silterra, TSMC and United Microelectronics Corporation. The company is based in Irvine, California, in the University Research Park on the University of California, Irvine campus, after a 2007 move from its previous campus near the Irvine Spectrum. It has many other research and development sites including Silicon Fen, Cambridge (UK), Bangalore and Hyderabad in India, Richmond (near Vancouver) and Markham (near Toronto) in Canada and Sophia Antipolis in France.
|January 1999||Maverick Networks||$104M in Stock||Multi-layer switches for corporate networks|
|April 1999||Epigram||$316M in stock||Home networking using telephone wiring, WiFi|
|June 1999||Armedia Inc.||$67.2M in stock||Digital Video Decoders|
|August 1999||HotHaus Technologies||$280M in stock||DSP software for VOIP|
|August 1999||Altocom||$180M in stock||Software modem software|
|January 2000||BlueSteel Networks||$123M in stock||Security processors|
|March 2000||Digital Furnace Corp||$136M in stock||Data compression software|
|March 2000||Stellar Semiconductor||$162M in stock||3D graphics processors|
|June 2000||Pivotal Technologies||$242M in stock||Digital video chips|
|July 2000||Innovent Systems||$500M in stock||Bluetooth radios|
|August 2000||Puyallup Integrated Circuit Company||IC design and IC macro blocks|
|July 2000||Altima Communications||$533M in stock||Networking chips|
|October 2000||Newport Communications||$1240M in stock||10Gbit Ethernet transceivers|
|October 2000||Silicon Spice||$1000M in stock||DSP chips for VOIP|
|November 2000||Element 14||$594M in stock||DSL chipsets|
|November 2000||SiByte, Inc||$2060M in stock||MIPS, Broadband microprocessors|
|December 2000||Allayer Communications||$271M in stock||Enterprise and optical networking chips|
|January 2001||VisionTech, Ltd.||$777M in stock||MPEG-2 compression/decompression of PVRs|
|January 2001||ServerWorks Corp.||$1003M in stock||I/O controllers for servers and workstations|
|July 2001||PortaTec Corporation||Mobile devices|
|July 2001||Kimalink||Wireless and mobile ICs|
|May 2002||Mobilink Telecom, Inc.||$5.6M shares of stock||Baseband processors for cellphones|
|March 2003||Gadzoox Networks||$5.8M in cash||Storage-area networks|
|January 2004||RAIDCore, Inc.||$16.5M in cash||RAID software|
|April 2004||M-Stream Inc.||$8.7M in cash and 27000 shares of stock||Technology to improve wireless reception|
|April 2004||Sand Video, Inc.||$77.5M in stock and $7.4M in cash||Video compression technology|
|April 2004||WIDCOMM, Inc.||$49M in cash||Software for Bluetooth systems|
|April 2004||Zyray Wireless, Inc.||$96M in stock||Baseband processors for WCDMA|
|September 2004||Alphamosaic, Ltd.||$123M in stock||Video processors for mobile devices|
|February 2005||Alliant Networks, Inc.||Cellular gateway products|
|March 2005||Zeevo, Inc.||$26.4M in cash and $2.6M in stock||Bluetooth headset products|
|July 2005||Siliquent Technologies, Inc.||$76M in cash||10Gbit Ethernet interface controllers|
|October 2005||Athena Semiconductors, Inc.||$21.6M in cash||Digital TV tuners and Wifi technology|
|January 2006||Sandburst Corporation||$75M in cash and $5M in stock||SOC chips for Ethernet packet switching|
|November 2006||LVL7 Systems, Inc.||$62M in cash||Networking software|
|May 2007||Octalica, Inc.||$31M in cash||Multimedia Over Coax technology|
|June 2007||Global Locate, Inc.||$146M in cash||GPS chips and software|
|March 2008||Sunext Design, Inc.||$48M in cash||Optical disk drive technologies|
|August 2008||AMD (DTV Processor Division)||$141.5M in cash (Original deal was $192.8M)||Xilleon DTV processor chips, software and TV tuners|
|December 2009||Dune Networks||$178M in cash||High speed network switches|
|February 2010||Teknovus||$123M in cash||Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) chipsets and software|
|June 2010||Innovision Research & Technology plc||$47.5M in cash||Near field communication expertise and IP|
|October 2010||Beceem Communications||$316M in cash||4G LTE/WiMax expertise|
|November 2010||Gigle Networks||$75M in cash||Multimedia home networking|
|April 2011||Provigent Ltd.||$313M in cash||Microwave Backhaul|
|May 2011||SC Square Ltd.||$41.9M in cash||Israel-based security software developer|
|September 2011||NetLogic Microsystems||$3.7 billion||Next-generation Internet networks|
|March 2012||BroadLight||$230M in cash||Israel-based fiber access PON developer|
|June 2012||Wisair||$1M in cash||Short-range Wireless data transmission|
|January 2013||BroadLogic||video encoders/decoders, QAM modulation and wideband receivers|
|September 2013||Renesas Mobile Corporation||$164M in cash||Mobile chipset platforms (LTE-Related Assets)|
|November 2016||Brocade Communications Systems||$5.9 billion|
The Broadcom logo was designed by Eliot Hochberg, based on the logo for the company's previous name, Broadband Telecom. The Broadband Telecom logo was designed by co-founder Henry Nicholas' then-wife Stacey Nicholas, who was inspired by the mathematical sinc function.
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