Knowles, the world’s largest maker of embedded microphones, said that it had divested its oscillator business to Microsemi for $130 million. Oscillators are passive components used to create clock signals in a wide range of embedded applications, including telecom and consumer electronics.
The oscillator market is not particularly profitable for Knowles, which said that the sale would cut the company’s fourth quarter revenue by $26 million. Going forward, the firm is targeting markets like smart speakers, sales of which were around 4.2 million in the fourth quarter last year, up from 600,000 in the previous fourth quarter, according to Strategy Analytics.
Knowles, trying to reverse the unnaturalness of voice controls and to buffer its microphone sales, recently released a system-on-chip for smart speakers, alarm clocks, and other gadgets from companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple. It uses machine learning algorithms to recognize keywords like “Alexa” or “Hello, Google” without stifling battery life.