The Egyptian Revolution, as might be expected, has taken its toll on the nation's economy. But computer giant Intel is finding conditions favorable enough to invest there: Intel just purchased the bulk of 4G Egyptian wireless firm SySDSoft's assets as part of their ongoing WiMax push.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. SySDSoft, based in Cairo with approximately 100 engineers in Egypt and the United States, will be folded into the Intel Mobile Communications division. The bulk of SySDSoft's work is dedicated to developing software and circuitry for 4G LTE mobile technology.
According to Intel Capital president Arvind Sodhani, "The acquisition of engineering and design talent from an Egypt-based company in the field of cutting-edge wireless and communication technology is the first of its kind for Intel in the Middle East […] The acquisition shows Intel’s continued long-term strategic commitment to the region and its appreciation of its young, growing talent pool."
But for Intel, investing in SySDSoft has little to do with "strategic commitment" to Egypt and the Middle East and everything to do with their cheerleading for the WiMax protocol.
Intel has been vocal in pushing WiMax, a competitor protocol to DSL and cable internet capable of handling VoIP phone calls and Internet television with far fewer challenges than conventional broadband protocols. The USB modems marketed by American mobile phone providers are the best known examples of WiMax. LTE functons as a successor protocol to WiMax.
While WiMax-based services have acquired a large market share in Europe and Asia, they have yet to crack the all-important North American market in a significant manner. Intel is hoping that LTE will succeed where WiMax failed—and make them a healthy chunk of money in the process.
In October, SySDSoft announced that they had managed to create staggeringly high throughput rates from their LTE UE protocol stacks that, in practical terms, mean it could become the fastest option for broadband internet. SySDSoft obtained a simultaneous 300Mbps download and 75 mbps upload rate.
InformationWeek's Antone Gonsalves notes that the acquisition coincides with growing intrusion by Intel into the mobile market:
Intel's focus on communication-related semiconductors complements its work on microprocessors for handheld mobile devices. The company introduced at MWC its Medfield smartphone processor, which is seen as better equipped than previous chips to compete with processors based on the designs of ARM Holdings, which dominates the mobile phone and tablet market. Medfield, which is expected to enter mass production this year, is smaller and consumes less power than any other processor Intel has made for smartphones.
If an Egyptian software firm can help give Intel the edge it needs to gain market share for what's likely to be the next major broadband platform, that is good news for companies in Egypt and Tunisia. The new governments of both countries need to show that they can both offer foreign firms transparency and local entrepreneurs the opportunity to make cash on a worldwide scale. Acquisitions like SySDSoft's can only help.
[Image via Flickr user JBTaylor]