Real-time software provider Wind River Systems acquired by Intel in push to embedded systems

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Microprocessor giant Intel Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif., is acquiring real-time software specialist Wind River Systems in Alameda, Calif., as part of Intel’s strategy to expand into aerospace and defense embedded systems and mobile handheld devices beyond Intel’s traditional market of PCs and servers.

By John Keller

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–Microprocessor giant Intel Corp. in Santa Clara, Calif., is acquiring real-time software specialist Wind River Systems in Alameda, Calif., as part of Intel’s strategy to expand into aerospace and defense embedded systems and mobile handheld devices beyond Intel’s traditional market of PCs and servers.

Wind River, whose VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS) has a large installed base in military and aerospace applications, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel and continue supplying Wind River products and services.

Depending on how military and embedded systems designers perceive the deal, Intel’s acquisition of Wind River may create a market opportunity for real-time software providers who compete directly with Wind River, such as Green Hills Software in Santa Barbara, Calif., and Sysgo AG in Klein-Winternheim, Germany. At the same time, however, Wind River competitors now must compete with the marketing might that Intel brings to the table.

Among the reasons for the acquisition is to enable Intel to compete more directly with Microsoft for military embedded systems, as well as embedded applications, experts say. Intel already offers a version Linux called Moblin. With the Wind River acquisition, Intel also gains powerful real-time Linux expertise in Wind River’s RT Linux product, which Wind River acquired in 2007 from Finite State Machine Labs Inc. (FSMLabs) in Socorro, N.M.

“This acquisition will bring us complementary, market-leading software assets and a talented group of people to help us continue to grow our embedded systems and mobile device capabilities,” says Renee James, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group.

“As a wholly owned subsidiary, Wind River will more tightly align its software expertise to Intel’s platforms to speed the pace of progress and software innovation,” says Ken Klein, Wind River chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

The acquisition will deliver to Intel software capabilities in embedded systems and mobile devices, such as aerospace and defense, energy, smart phones, mobile Internet devices, and automotive information and entertainment systems.

The transaction is expected to close this summer, after which Wind River will report to Intel’s Software and Services Group.

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