Intel flogs off Wind River after it failed to deliver mobile supremacy

Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker, wherever you're goin', I'm goin' the other way

Intel has offloaded real-time OS-maker Wind River.

Chipzilla for acquired the company in 2009 for a cool US$884M and declared “The acquisition will deliver to Intel robust software capabilities in embedded systems and mobile devices, both important growth areas for the company.”

We all know how that worked out: Intel missed the smartphone market, which is dominated by Arm Holdings, Qualcomm and Samsung. Wind River’s operating systems may power NASA's Mars rovers, but back on Earth other forms of Androids rule. Embedded devices, meanwhile, can mostly make do with Linux.

So Intel’s excised it, with private investment firm TPG picking up Wind River for an undisclosed sum.

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Intel says Wind River will remain “an important ecosystem partner” for its “things group” and help Intel “collaborate on critical software-defined infrastructure opportunities to advance an autonomous future.”

Wind River president Jim Douglas is optimistic in the deal-announcing canned statement, saying “TPG will provide Wind River with the flexibility and financial resources to fuel our many growth opportunities as a standalone software company”.

Intel’s made a lot of noise about doing all the stuff Wind River does well: Chipzilla wants to play on the edge, in autonomous devices and in internet things. Just how it will do so without Wind River and the Edison, Galileo and Joule embedded kit it ejected in 2017 is anyone’s guess.

A clue may be found in Akraino, a Linux Foundation project dedicated to “edge cloud infrastructure for carrier, provider, and IoT networks”. Intel seeded Akraino with some Wind River code, so perhaps Chipzilla has decided open source will give people a reason to buy more Xeons than would have been the case if it had kept Wind River close. ®

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