Intel, obviously not hurting too much from a recent $1.5 billion anti-trust fine, has just spent $884 million purchasing Wind River, which makes embedded systems software. Why would it do that? Because Intel wants it’s “Intel Inside” stickers on more phones and mobile Internet devices, that’s why.
Intel’s no stranger to the world of “small, low-cost notebook PCs” thanks to its Atom chip. Those tiny strips of silicon power pretty much every netbook out there, thanks to their low power consumption. But clearly Intel has its sights set on a much broader set of portable computing devices, with specific mention of smartphones and mobile Internet devices.
That’s interesting. It’s easy to understand Intel wanting a share of the booming smartphone market. When its Moorestown processors arrive mobile will be a given, but MIDs? They occupy that gray area between the less powerful iPhone, G1, Pre and that ilk, and the more powerful netbooks–and it’s a market sector that’s not really taken off yet. Maybe Intel thinks that by weaving together its Atom tech, and Wind River’s embedded systems expertise it can produce a new chipset that’ll turn the MID market into the next netbook phenomenon. Think of it as being similar to Apple’s acquisition of PA Semi, and you’ll get the picture.
It’s also been rumored that Intel is aiming to get its chips into more set-top boxes and car dashboard computers–and in this case, the purchase of Wind River makes perfect sense.