Raytheon buys BBN for 'about $350m'
Arms biz buys up the "@" in email
Renowned techsploration company BBN - famed far and wide for inventing forerunner internet kit, and for giving the world the "@" symbol in email addresses - has been bought by US armsbiz colossus Raytheon. The move illustrates growing aspirations on the part of arms firms to do business in the information systems sector.
According to Raytheon, BBN went for "approximately $350 million, subject to post-closing adjustments". The defence giant expects no material impact on its Q4 numbers as a result of the buy.
"BBN has tremendous technological capabilities, and we see immediate opportunities for applying its technologies to enhance our products," said Colin Schottlaender, Raytheon 'Network Centric Systems' kingpin. "The depth of scientific and engineering talent inside BBN is very impressive, and we look forward to better serving our customers through the strengths of our combined organizations."
BBN will become part of Network Centric Systems and operate as Raytheon BBN Technologies.
"Becoming part of Raytheon is good for our business, our customers and our employees," said Robert G 'Tad' Elmer, prez and CEO of BBN.
"Together we will be able to transition very advanced technologies quickly into larger programs, creating both the most advanced systems possible for customers and rich opportunities for our scientists and engineers."
The original Bolt, Beranek and Newman that became today's BBN was a major player in the rise of the Arpanet, forerunner of the fantastically successful global porn network we now know as the internet. Today, BBN still operates in the field of networks and computing: it has contracts with the famous Pentagon mad-professor shop, DARPA (son of ARPA, father of the ARPAnet) for such things as "Machine Reading" and the "Wireless Network After Next".
With traditional aerospace-oriented arms companies such as Raytheon nowadays keen to get into selling cyber and information warfare kit, the acquisition of BBN probably makes a lot of sense. ®
"defence giant" indeed.
Unless fighting off the incensed locals in the various countries which you are busy "introducing to democracy" counts as "defence" I guess.
Raytheon make their money from providing arms with which the US fights its various wars. Defence hardly comes into it.
"bear in mind that the Internet evolved from a private Pentagon network."
The first two nodes of what became TehIntraWebTubes were at SRI and UCLA, run by students and professors. With no Pentagon oversight. Money, yes. Oversight, no.
I haven't thought about it in years, but one of the first IMPs was cold, dark & gathering dust in a closet next to my office when I was at SAIL ... It was a highly modified Honeywell DDP 516, if I remember correctly. I should have "borrowed" it when I had the chance. I'll bet a nickle its still there, and nobody knows what it is ... I think I'll go look next time I'm at Stanford :-)
Alien, BBN never owned Compuserve. It did own the pioneering packet-switched carrier Telenet, selling it to GTE around 1980. It dabbled in all sorts of related technologies over the years.
BBN's biggest attraction to Raytheon was probably its Boomerang shot-spotter. BBN started as an acoustics company (1948) and still has serious military acoustics skill, including this system that uses an array of microphones and some fast computing to determine where a bullet was fired from. Its work is >90% federal, like Raytheon.
And Tel, bear in mind that the Internet evolved from a private Pentagon network. BBN built the ARPAnet starting in 1969. (ARPA=DoD) It became "Internet" in the early 1980s when MILnet became a separate operation, linked to the research (universities, etc.) ARPAnet. Peaceniks have never objected to making non-military use of this technology, regardless of its provenance.