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
1.1 1995-2016: Founding and name changes
Qualcomm litigation and settlement
1.3 2006-2008: Stock options scandal
2.1 Network interface controllers
2.2 Trident+ ASIC
2.3 Graphics processing unit
2.4 Video acceleration
2.5 WiFi chipsets
2.6 Vulnerabilities in SoC WiFi stack
2.8 Linux products
2.9 Raspberry Pi
3.1 Notable employees
4 See also
6 External links
1995-2016: Founding and name changes
Broadcom Corporation was founded by professor-student pair Henry
Henry Nicholas from UCLA in 1991. In 1995 the company
moved from its
Westwood, Los Angeles
Westwood, Los Angeles office to Irvine, California.
Broadcom became a public company on the
(ticker symbol: BRCM) and employs about 11,750 people worldwide in
more than 15 countries.
Broadcom is among Gartner's Top 10
Semiconductor Vendors by
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
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
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,
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
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
In June 2007, the
U.S. International Trade Commission
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
allegedly engaging in unlawful tactics to maintain "a monopoly on
On January 17, 2018, it was reported that the FTC was investigating
Broadcom had "engaged in anti-competitive tactics in
negotiations with customers," in a probe that had been ongoing for
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
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 produces the system on a chip for the line of popular
Raspberry Pi single-board computers.
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
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
The company also produces ICs for carrier access equipment,
audio/video processors for digital set-top boxes and digital video
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
Network interface controllers
Vendors have included
Broadcom NICs in their products. For example,
Dell PowerEdge M-Series blade-server products may be fitted with
Dell-supplied Dual Port
Broadcom NetXtreme 5709
Gigabit Ethernet port
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 Networking) running FTOS/DNOS, all
Arista 7050-series switches, the IBM/BNT 8264, and Juniper
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
Graphics processing unit
VideoCore is the GPU found on some systems-on-a-chip (SoC)s by
Broadcom, the most widely known one being the BCM2835 containing
VideoCore IV found in the Raspberry Pi.
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
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
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
connectivity with DS and
802.11g for the Wii. More specifically,
Broadcom would provide
Bluetooth connectivity for Wii's
Broadcom unveiled the first 802.11ac 5G Wifi SOCs which is
adopted across many mobile phones including the Samsung Galaxy S4 and
HTC One and the LG Nexus 5. Additionally, routers from
Huawei and Belkin also include Broadcom's 802.11ac
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.
For other uses, see BroadVoice.
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
Broadcom produces. Since the release of the 2.6.26 kernel
Broadcom chips have kernel support but require external firmware
to be built.
In 2003 the
Free Software Foundation
Free Software Foundation accused
Broadcom of not complying
GNU General Public License
GNU General Public License as
Broadcom distributed GPL code
in a driver for its
802.11g router chipset without making that code
The chipset was adopted by
Linksys which was later purchased by Cisco.
Cisco eventually published source code for the firmware for its WRT54G
wireless broadband router under the GPL-license.
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
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
Main article: Raspberry Pi
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.
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
Semiconductor Manufacturing International
TSMC and United Microelectronics Corporation.
The company is based in Irvine, California, in the University Research
Park on the
University of California, Irvine
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,
Hyderabad in India, Richmond (near Vancouver) and
Markham (near Toronto) in Canada and
Sophia Antipolis in France.
In September 2011,
NetLogic Microsystems for a deal of
$3.7 billion in cash, excluding around $450 million of NetLogic
employee shareholdings, which will transfer to Broadcom.
NetLogic Microsystems acquisition, through the years,
Broadcom has acquired many smaller companies to quickly enter new
$104M in Stock
Multi-layer switches for corporate networks
$316M in stock
Home networking using telephone wiring, WiFi
$67.2M in stock
Digital Video Decoders
$280M in stock
DSP software for VOIP
$180M in stock
Software modem software
$123M in stock
Digital Furnace Corp
$136M in stock
Data compression software
$162M in stock
3D graphics processors
$242M in stock
Digital video chips
$500M in stock
Integrated Circuit Company
IC design and IC macro blocks
$533M in stock
$1240M in stock
$1000M in stock
DSP chips for VOIP
$594M in stock
$2060M in stock
MIPS, Broadband microprocessors
$271M in stock
Enterprise and optical networking chips
$777M in stock
MPEG-2 compression/decompression of PVRs
$1003M in stock
I/O controllers for servers and workstations
Wireless and mobile ICs
Mobilink Telecom, Inc.
$5.6M shares of stock
Baseband processors for cellphones
$5.8M in cash
$16.5M in cash
$8.7M in cash and 27000 shares of stock
Technology to improve wireless reception
Sand Video, Inc.
$77.5M in stock and $7.4M in cash
Video compression technology
$49M in cash
Zyray Wireless, Inc.
$96M in stock
Baseband processors for WCDMA
$123M in stock
Video processors for mobile devices
Alliant Networks, Inc.
Cellular gateway products
$26.4M in cash and $2.6M in stock
Bluetooth headset products
Siliquent Technologies, Inc.
$76M in cash
Ethernet interface controllers
Athena Semiconductors, Inc.
$21.6M in cash
Digital TV tuners and Wifi technology
$75M in cash and $5M in stock
SOC chips for
Ethernet packet switching
LVL7 Systems, Inc.
$62M in cash
$31M in cash
Multimedia Over Coax technology
Global Locate, Inc.
$146M in cash
GPS chips and software
Sunext Design, Inc.
$48M in cash
Optical disk drive technologies
AMD (DTV Processor Division)
$141.5M in cash (Original deal was $192.8M)
Xilleon DTV processor chips, software and TV tuners
$178M in cash
High speed network switches
$123M in cash
Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) chipsets and software
Innovision Research & Technology plc
$47.5M in cash
Near field communication
Near field communication expertise and IP
$316M in cash
4G LTE/WiMax expertise
$75M in cash
Multimedia home networking
$313M in cash
SC Square Ltd.
$41.9M in cash
Israel-based security software developer
Next-generation Internet networks
$230M in cash
Israel-based fiber access PON developer
$1M in cash
Short-range Wireless data transmission
Video encoders/decoders, QAM modulation and wideband receivers.
Renesas Mobile Corporation
$164M in cash
Mobile chipset platforms (LTE-Related Assets)
Brocade Communications Systems
Network switch manufacturer
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
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20th Century History of
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