Qualcomm is to offload its Vuforia augmented reality unit, against the backdrop of a corporate realignment which will see it focusing on its licensing and processor activities.
Qualcomm Connected Experiences is offloading the business to IoT platform company PTC for $65 million, with the new buyer pledging to continue investment and support for the platform and its developer ecosystem.
According to PTC, Vuforia “enables apps to see and connect the physical world with digital experiences that demand attention, drive engagement, and deliver value”. It has a developer ecosystem in 130 countries, powering more than 20,000 apps with more than 200 million installs worldwide.
“Because of what IoT is enabling, more and more products are now a mixture of digital and part physical content. So, naturally, the ways in which we interact with these products will evolve toward a mixed-reality model that blends physical and digital interactions,” Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC, said.
Qualcomm announced a strategic realignment that will see “fundamental changes” in July 2015, indicating that this will lead to the curbing of investments beyond its core silicon and licensing activities.
The company has previously made numerous forays into adjacent areas – such as its MediaFlo mobile broadcast activities, Mirasol display business and wearables among many others, as it looked to drive innovation.
But these activities are essentially costly bets on where the market may be going, which have often failed to pay off.
“Qualcomm always looks to push the boundaries of what is possible with computer vision. By leveraging the company’s mobile technology leadership, Vuforia has become the platform of choice for developers of augmented reality applications,” Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm said.
While it is not clear how much cash has been pumped into Vuforia, PTC said the business’ annual revenue is “currently not material” to its financials.
The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2015, subject to closing conditions.