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Funding Boost for U.K. Chip Firm Aiming at Amazon, Apple Voice-Control Market

  • German chipmaker leads $15m funding round in British firm
  • Chips that make smart gadgets respond more like human beings
Integrated circuits sit on an Embedded Wafer Level Ball Grid Array (eWLB) circuit board at the Infineon Technologies AG microchip and sensor manufacturing facility in Regensburg, Germany, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016. Infineon designs, manufactures and markets semiconductors for the automotive, industrial, communications, consumer and security electronics sectors.
Photo Illustration: Tom Hall/Bloomberg

Infineon Technologies AG bought a stake in U.K. audio specialist Xmos Ltd. as the German chipmaker seeks to gain from rapidly growing demand for voice-controlled devices like Amazon.com Inc.’s Echo assistant and the Google Home speaker.

Infineon led a $15 million funding round in Bristol-based Xmos, which develops sophisticated voice processors and algorithms. Infineon wants to pair those with its own microphones and gesture-tracking products to improve the interaction with smart home gadgets by, for instance, better filtering out background noise. The technology is aimed at potential customers such as Amazon, Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., said Andreas Urschitz, who heads Infineon’s power management and multimarket division.