Intel Buys Location Company To Boost Mobile Plans


Intel is proposing to buy Telmap in order to boost its mobile and software efforts

Intel is growing its capabilities in both software and mobility with the proposed acquisition of Telmap, a location-based services company based in Israel.

Telmap, which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel, will enable the giant chip maker to expand what it can offer in terms of software, according to Peter Biddle, general manager of Intel’s AppUp developer programme.

Mobile software services

“This move is a step towards expanding our mobile software services capabilities as Intel continues to grow in the area of software and services,” Biddle said in a post on the company’s AppUp developer blog. “We are all very excited to have such knowledgeable and respected experts join the company.”

Intel initially announced the deal during the keynote speech at the vendor’s AppUp Elements 2011 show, which ran from 28 to 29 September in Seattle. No financial details were released, though reports from news outlets in Israel put the figure at $300 million (£190m), according to Reuters.

The New York Times on 2 October quoted Telmap chief executive Oren Nissam as saying he expects the deal to close before the end of the year.

“The unique thing about this transaction is that here comes a giant and says, ‘We really like what you’re doing, we believe in your strategy, we want to enhance and go forward. We’re not here to swallow you up,'” Nissim said, adding that Telmap, with Intel as a partner, will become a strong alternative to much larger location-based service vendors like Google and Nokia.

For Intel, Telmap – which has 210 employees – will enable the vendor to bring greater capabilities to its silicon offerings. Intel executives have been vocal about their desire to have the company to become more of a solutions provider than simply a chip maker. For example, Intel in February closed on its $7.68 billion deal to buy security software maker McAfee to help bring hardware-based security capabilities to its processors and make devices such as desktop PCs and notebooks more secure.

Intel also has active in developing a Linux-based mobile operating system as an alternative to Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS. The chip maker was working with Nokia to create the MeeGo OS. Nokia has since ditched the effort to focus on Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system. Intel officials in September said they – along with other vendors, such as Samsung – were evolving MeeGo into an effort around Tizen, a Linux-based OS for multiple devices, including mobile handsets, netbooks and tablets.

AppUp is an app store effort around MeeGo and Windows.

Consumer perspective

The Telmap move will help Intel the consumer space, according to Biddle.

“From a consumer perspective, Telmap helps bring to life our vision for integrated, uniform experiences across consumer devices,” he wrote. “Telmap has a tremendous amount of expertise around end-to-end mobile local search, mapping and navigation services. Telmap delivers great multi-platform consumer experiences every day, and we’re looking forward to combining that focus and excellence with Intel’s to significantly grow their business.”

Along with the service angle of the deal, Telmap also will help developers as they build apps for the AppUp programme.

“With Telmap we can directly provide developers with location-based services spanning devices, operating systems and CPU architectures,” Biddle wrote. “Telmap will allow us to provide AppUp developers with great, differentiated location capabilities in the form of a standard set of location-based APIs and software that developers can easily integrate into their AppUp apps.”

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