Today in Cleantech

The big wireless news this morning is Qualcomm’s bid to acquire chipmaker Atheros Communications, which could give it a whole new set of tools to enter the networked home. (Thanks for the coverage, Stacey!) While the move is largely seen as an attempt by Qualcomm to expand from voice communications into smartphones and tablets, I can’t help but wonder how the deal might also expand Qualcomm’s existing position in M2M communications in the smart grid field. As I reported last year in a previous journalistic life, Qualcomm’s “Internet of things” joint venture with Verizon Wireless could see Qualcomm expand its existing lines of M2M networking for a variety of smart grid applications. Qualcomm’s global smart services group helps network electricity grid distribution equipment built by Swiss giant ABB, hydrogen fueling stations by Air Products, water treatments systems from Siemens, and air compressors from Gardner Denver. Atheros, for its part, is tackling the smart grid space via networking energy-smart homes, both via Wi-Fi wireless and chipsets for the HomePlug Green PHY specification to communicate energy data over household wiring. Just how these disparate lines of business might mesh in a merger between Qualcomm and Atheros remains to be seen — I welcome your thoughts on the subject.