Intel to buy security software startup for $20M

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On Monday, Intel confirmed that it has agreed to buy Sensory Networks Inc., a Mountain View, Calif.-based provider of pattern matching and acceleration software technology. Though both companies declined to give financial details of the deal, reports put the cost at $20 million.

According to Intel spokesman, Chris Kraeuter, revenue contributions from the acquisition are not material to the company.

Sensory Networks was founded by Australian technology entrepreneurs in 2003, and it currently has only five employees. The company moved its headquarters to Mountain View, Calif., but maintains an R&D office in Sydney.

The company’s software is used in products like firewalls, which scan for large amounts of data, as well as email content filtering.

Sensory Networks has partnered with Intel in the past, including working with the Wind River business on various projects, and it also has worked with other chipmakers, such as Cavium.

Sensory Networks isn’t Intel’s first software acquisition, and it’s nowhere near its largest. The company in 2009 paid $884 million for Wind River Systems, a software firm that helps run cellphones and other embedded systems.

And it reached a $7.68 billion deal for security software maker McAfee three years ago. At the time of the latter purchase, Intel said that combining its hardware with McAfee software would better prevent security breaches and malicious software, rather than simply detect and respond to infections.

Expanding beyond its core PC chip business is key for Intel’s future growth. Computer sales have slowed in favor of tablets and smartphones, and Intel has struggled to gain inroads in the mobile market. Software is one area where Intel has built its portfolio.

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