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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Broadcom's deal to buy Qualcomm is dead, but its demise leaves both companies facing an uncertain future.

The bottom line: Qualcomm's management, already under pressure from both shareholders and antitrust regulators, now has to prove it really is worth more than Broadcom was willing to pay. As for Broadcom, it's now likely a question of eat or be eaten.

For Qualcomm: It's got plenty on its plate, including a pending tender offer to buy NXP Semiconductors as well as a bitter legal fight with Apple, all while trying to make sure its licensing and chip businesses don't miss a beat as the industry moves from one generation to another, going from 4G to 5G technology.

For Broadcom: It's already gotten quite large through acquisition, but may need even more heft to go it alone. Intel was reportedly at least somewhat interested in Broadcom when the Qualcomm deal was on the table. The question is whether Intel will remain interested if there aren't any prospects of a Qualcomm-Broadcom combination. And, even if it is, would regulators be OK with that combination.

And, importantly, does Broadcom go ahead with plans to move its official headquarters to the U.S., or does it reverse course?

China concerns: The deal may ease some concerns, but doesn't make Huawei less of a threat. It's still the case that, although Qualcomm is influential in 5G standards, no U.S. company makes the gear that power such networks. Huawei's main rivals are two European companies, Nokia and Ericsson, along with (to a lesser degree) China's ZTE and Korea's Samsung.

But, but but: For all the talk about how a Qualcomm-Broadcom deal could help China, antitrust authorities there might have blocked it due to widespread disapproval from Chinese phone makers, says wireless industry consultant Chetan Sharma.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.