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Intel joins IoT M&A frenzy with $17 billion Altera acquisition

Intel Altera

Chip giant Intel has wasted little time in joining the recent flurry of semiconductor M&A activity by acquiring embedded chip company Altera for $16.7 billion.

Altera specialises FPGAs (field-programmable gate arrays), which essentially are chips that can be reconfigured, making them useful for dynamic embedded environments such as software defined radio and whatever the Internet of Things eventually serves up. Intel believes this kind of technology can help it in the embedded space, where it often struggles to compete with more power efficient ARM-based products.

“With this acquisition, we will harness the power of Moore’s Law to make the next generation of solutions not just better, but able to do more,” said Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel. “Whether to enable new growth in the network, large cloud data centers or IoT segments, our customers expect better performance at lower costs. This is the promise of Moore’s Law and it’s the innovation enabled by Intel and Altera joining forces.”

“We believe that as part of Intel we will be able to develop innovative FPGAs and system-on-chips for our customers in all market segments,” said John Daane, President, CEO of Altera. “Together, we expect to drive meaningful value for our customers, partners and employees around the world.”

Intel has been getting serious about IoT for some time, especially when it became apparent how difficult getting into the smartphone market would be for it. Back in 2009 it bought embedded software company Wind River and it has recently broken out its IoT activities into a distinct reporting unit. Together with other acquisitions, such as cellular modem company Infineon, Intel is amassing a portfolio of silicon capabilities that could be combined into some highly versatile chips – just what you need when looking to future proof your embedded technology.

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