2015 holds the potential for some game changers in Orange County’s diverse technological landscape.
Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. will begin construction in the first half of 2015 on a new 1.1-million-square-foot headquarters campus at the Great Park that could eventually hold as many as eight buildings.
Costa Mesa-based TTM Technologies Inc. enters the New Year awaiting regulatory approval for its blockbuster $927 million takeover of rival Viasystems Group Inc., which would create by far the largest printed circuit board maker in the U.S. and one of the biggest in the world.
Irvine-based storage products maker Western Digital Corp. received good word from China’s Ministry of Commerce that its closer to approving the integration of its $4.8 billion buy of HGST Inc. made in 2012.
The approval, which could come in the first few months of 2015, would bring HGST, its 45,000 employees, and operations around the globe under the Western Digital banner.
Three more developments to keep an eye on: the growth of 3-D printing and how local Costa Mesa startup Airwolf 3D benefits; the expected consumer release of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift by Irvine startup Oculus VR Inc.; and the Internet of Things market, with several local companies, including Insteon, D-Link and Broadcom, trying to tap into the explosive market of devices that communicate with each other remotely.
Person to Watch
The Business Journal will keep a close eye on Blizzard Entertainment Inc. cofounder and Chief Executive Michael Morhaime as he steers OC’s largest software maker into new video game genres and revenue streams.
The company’s first free-to-play title, the collectible card game “Hearthstone,” is already a hit with Blizzard faithful, topping more than 20 million users since its March release. The game is estimated to bring in about $40 million per quarter through gamers pouring in real money to purchase special card sets and accessories to boost performance.
Morhaime, a big fan of gaming competitions, has backed several in-house initiatives to boost e-sports, culminating in four championship events at the company’s annual BlizzCon festival, where players competed for about $750,000 in prize money in November.
Morhaime will oversee at least two new major projects next year with the planned release of “Overwatch,” Blizzard’s inaugural attempt at a first-person shooter game, and another free title in development, “Heroes of the Storm,” which pits favorite characters from its WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo franchises against each other in online brawls and clashing universes.
Company to Watch
Aliso Viejo-based Telogis Inc. has been on a roll since landing $93 million in a first round of VC funding led by Menlo Park-based investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers in late 2013. Its technology—which uses GPS and software to help companies create better routes, track shipments and deliveries, and manage mobile workforces—has seen strong demand from automakers and the public sector. Recent deals include an exclusive agreement with Anaheim-based Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. to supply the company with new telematics systems in an effort to improve the fleet’s connectivity services; and a software contract with the U.S. unit of Hino Motors Ltd., the third-largest truck maker in the world. Telogis also recently secured small strategic investments from Detroit-based private equity firm Fontinalis Partners LLC, cofounded by Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman William Clay Ford Jr., and GM Ventures, the venture capital arm of General Motors Inc.