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Intel Buys Wind River To Put a Computer In Every Toaster

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imagesIntel (s intc) today said it plans to acquire Wind River Systems (s wind) for $884 million — a deal that gives the world’s largest chipmaker control of development software and operating systems for devices that range from cell phones to routers. Intel last year made a big to-do about getting into the embedded market that supplies chips for consumer electronics, cars and industrial uses. It’s also planning to bring its low-power Atom x86 chips to cell phones by adding cellular radios. Wind River helped Intel adapt its Moblin OS for mobile Internet devices. Intel’s move isn’t only about growing into new markets, it’s also a sign that the computer is continuing to move further beyond the data center and desktops.

All sorts of electronics (yes, even your toaster) are growing more complicated, and more of them are also are getting connected to the web (not yet on the toaster), which means they are able to send and receive data. Once that happens, they need bigger brains to manage and react to that flow of information. Hence the need for smarter embedded chips, and Intel’s efforts to take its brand of x86 general-purpose computing to all devices.

The purchase of Wind River also gives Intel a customer base that includes the automotive, consumer electronics and industrial companies to which it wants to sell its embedded chips, giving it access to the customer base that buys embedded chips. Intel’s move into the market will be highly contested by the likes of Texas Instruments (s txn), Freescale and ARM (s armh), which are already selling into the embedded and wireless spaces. Those companies, which currently use Wind River’s software, may try to stop Intel’s ownership of Wind River, and will certainly see it as a serious threat. This deal is an aggressive move by Intel to ensure that it doesn’t have to contemplate a world where its x86 chips are no longer dominant.

11 Responses to “Intel Buys Wind River To Put a Computer In Every Toaster”

  1. I sold a company to Wind River (device management vendor, Rapid Logic) and have partnered with Intel on/off for 13+ years so I have a pretty well formed perspective on the deal, which I blogged about in:

    Closing the Book on Embedded: Intel buys Wind River

    Check it out if interested.


  2. this is exciting news. i have been pondering how the unification of devices and computers was going to be set into motion. (constantly working on concepts for such devices.) so in the end i assume we will see a Moblin os interface on toasters, refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines, and all sorts of “accessories. keep’em coming.

    jason nadaf

  3. Artruro Jayson

    If any two companies can work hand-in-hand it’s Intel and Wind River. Wind River has the software development capability and the full-on smarts to help Intel go wherever it wants to go, and Intel knows this enough to want to buy the company. Wind River has also been dying to develop more dedicated software for what Intel is involved with. It’s an exquisite fit.

  4. Very interesting – this is probably the first time that they have made a serious attempt at enabling their software expertise. And seems to be headed in the right strategic direction… my bet is that they would become the embedded software unit for Intel to provide “better” bundled software with their chips. The challenge though is that the software that needs be offered along with Chips specially specialised chips such as for Set Top Boxes, TVs, Smart Phones needs to handle much more diverse software than what Wind River has been used to. None the less this was a void that Intel needed filling and a good move on their part…