In an interesting and somewhat unexpected decision, Intel has gone ahead and reportedly bought mobile-chip maker Infineon for $1.4 billion. Infineon makes mobile chips for all sorts of devices, including mobile phones. The latter business they got into after buying up LSI Corporation in 2007, with the Samsung Galaxy S series featuring their work.

The deal will let Intel use Infineon's mobile tech in "...Core processor-based laptops, and myriad of Intel Atom processor-based devices, including smartphones, netbooks, tablets and embedded computers". In addition, we can see Intel strengthening their "Wi-Fi and 4G WiMAX offerings".

All of this seems to set up Intel against Microsoft favorite Qualcomm, who's all-in-1 chipset solution seems to be very tempting for OEMs. The move, according to FastCompany, is due in part to off-set Apple's recent push in the mobile space with their A4 CPU which was developed in-house. Basically Intel is losing out in the mobile phone/slate area and is looking to cozy up with Microsoft through this purchase.

Of course, all of this is sort of funny knowing that Intel sold off their mobile division only a few years ago to Marvel for $600 million--while not 100% the same business, certainly Marvel and Infineon overlap quite a bit.

Will Intel succeed in cracking the mobile market and dislodge Qualcomm? Anyone want to ask Nvidia?

[Read Fast Company/Bloomberg]