Hedge Fund Wants Qualcomm to Raise $38 Billion Bid for NXP

Today’s topics include an activist investor that is pushing Qualcomm to up its $38 billion bid for NXP Semiconductor; a Google engineer's "manifesto" that fuels a gender discrimination controversy; analysis on what Samsung must do right with the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 smartphone; and Microsoft expanding its Azure IoT Hub’s reach with Particle and Electric Imp links.

Qualcomm’s already hefty bid to buy rival NXP Semiconductor for about $38 billion could become more expensive now that active investor Elliot Management has entered the picture.

Officials with Elliott have disclosed that the hedge fund now has a stake of between $2.2 billion and $2.3 billion in NXP, making Elliott the company’s largest shareholder with about 6 percent of the stock. In a regulatory filing, Elliott officials said they believed NXP’s shares are highly undervalued.

After weeks of speculation, Qualcomm executives in October 2016 announced its intention to buy NXP in an effort to expand the reach of its silicon products beyond the mobile device market and into emerging markets such as the internet of things and autonomous vehicles.

It’s been a difficult path, and the introduction of Elliott into the mix won’t make the process any easier. However, Qualcomm still expects to close the deal by the end of the year.

Google, which has been trying to dispel suggestions about unequal treatment for women at the company, found itself in the middle of a fresh controversy after an unidentified employee published a "manifesto" questioning Google's diversity policies.

The employee's 10-page essay, published in its entirety by Gizmodo, accused Google of fostering a "politically correct monoculture" that unfairly shamed dissenters against its diversity policies into silence.

Danielle Brown, the company's newly appointed vice president of diversity, said the document advanced incorrect assumptions about gender and diversity at Google. She defended the company's policies on diversity and inclusivity and said Google supports the right for people to express their opinion on critical issues without fear.

Samsung's new Galaxy Note 8 smartphone will debut Aug. 23 at a splashy media event in New York City, 10 months after the company suffered the embarrassment of a global recall of its Note7 handset following widespread reports of battery fires and explosions.

But even with that debacle, fans of Samsung's Note series of stylus-equipped smartphones will likely embrace the upcoming Note 8 with few worries about a repeat of the Note7 troubles, several IT analysts told eWEEK.

The Note7 debacle was costly for Samsung financially, with some 2.5 million Note7 handsets recalled in October 2016. However, some devoted Note7 buyers didn't want to return the phones despite the battery issues, citing their love of its unique features, including its built-in stylus.

 "To win customers, Samsung simply has to deliver a solid Note 8 for the stylus fanatics and the large screen fans who like that product," Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillette, told eWEEK, adding that he is "confident that Samsung took no chances on the batteries."

Azure IoT Hub, Microsoft's internet of things device connectivity and management service, now connects to the Particle and Electric Imp platforms, allowing organizations to add new functionality to their IoT deployments.

Particle and Electric Imp are both independent providers of secure, cloud-based IoT connectivity services. The new Azure IoT Hub integration enables customers to add Microsoft's platform-as-a-service solutions, unlocking additional value from the data generated by their IoT devices.

Integrating the services is a seamless affair, said Olivier Bloch, senior program manager of Azure IoT at Microsoft.