Clearwire, the WiMax provider headed by cellular pioneer Craig O. McCaw, lost more than $140 million last year, but their financial picture just got a lot brighter. $900 million brighter, in fact. The company will receive an injection of $600 million from Intel Capital, the investment arm of the chipmaker, and $300 million more from Motorola Ventures, Motorola’s investment division. Motorola will also be buying NextNet Wireless, a Clearwire subsidiary, for an undisclosed amount. Clearwire was planning an IPO later this year to raise $400 million, but have obviously ditched those plans.
The two company have made the hefty investment in hopes of giving WiMax a boost and speeding the development of a wide-range network. Intel hopes that WiMax can become the standard when providers upgrade their networks, and the Clearwire partnership gives them the leverage they need to try to make this happen. Intel is also working with other potential WiMax providers, so the agreement with Clearwire is not an exclusive arrangement. The company has invested heavily in research and development into WiMax and plans to have a WiMax capable Centrino chipset out by the end of next year.