From partnership to acquisition Let there be no confusion. Intel is a hardware company. It makes microchips. This is its core business. History shows that companies do best when they stick to their roots. There are exceptions. At the same time, Intel has always dabbled in software at some level. Mostly in products that support the chip architecture. Compilers, development tools and debuggers. From time to time, however, Intel ventures into the software business with more serious intentions. Back in 1991, Intel acquired LAN Systems in attempt to get more serious into the LAN utility business. This direction was later abandoned and Intel went back to its knitting as a chip vendor. Recently, Intel has started again to be serious about being in the software business. Its most serious foray was with the purchase of McAfee in 2010 to the tune of some 7.6 billion. A pretty serious commitment. We wrote recently about Intel’s intent to be a serious player in the Identity Management business with its composite platform Expressway API management. With that approach, Intel was clear that it had an “investment” in Mashery that would remain an arm’s length relationship best supporting the customer and allowing maximum flexibility for Mashery. In general, I like this approach better than an acquisition. Acquisitions by big companies of little companies are don’t always turn out for the best for anyone. Since then, it is clear that Intel management has shifted its view and thinks that outright ownership of Mashery is a better plan. While we agree that outright ownership can mean more control and management of direction, it can also mean the marginalization of and independent group that could possibly act more dynamically on its own. It is still too early to tell exactly how this will turn out for Intel and its customers, it will be important to watch and see how the organization is integrated into the company.