Intel buys MobilEye for a cool $15.3 billion

PC gamers love the combination of Intel CPUs and Nvidia GPUs, but the two companies are actually bitter rivals in several markets. Just as Nvidia has been all up in the self-driving car market, so too is Intel. The world's largest CPU vendor actually already has an autonomous vehicle division, but today it took a flying leap by announcing its purchase of MobilEye. The $15-billion-dollar acquisition is the largest purchase of an Israeli tech company in history, according to the Times of Israel. Intel says that MobilEye will be merging with its existing autonomous vehicle team once the deal is finalized with shareholders and regulators.

You might already have heard of MobilEye's technology. The company's offerings are already inside several semi-autonomous vehicles, including Tesla cars. That particular relationship has recently come to a close, though, since MobilEye said that Tesla was using its technology in ways it was never intended. MobilEye insists that its technology is meant for driver assistance, not fully-autonomous vehicles.

It's possible that MobilEye's willingness to cut ties with Tesla had something to do with today's impending purchase. The company announced a partnership with Intel and BMW two months ago to put a small fleet of fully-autonomous test cars on the road. It's possible that Intel was impressed by what it saw during that initiative.

While $15 billion is certainly a large amount, the acquisition is just the latest item in Intel's long string of investments in computer vision and autonomous vehicle technology. Last year, Intel bought Yogitech, Arynga, and Itseez—all smaller companies working on technologies critical to autonomous vehicles. With those companies under its belt, MobilEye's sensor technology, and its own microprocessor expertise, Intel could be poised to offer a fully-integrated autonomous driving solution to carmakers.

Comments closed
    • shank15217
    • 3 years ago

    Basically what happened is MobilEye screwed over Tesla because BMW gave them some extra money.

    • phileasfogg
    • 3 years ago

    >>>>>> Last year, Intel bought Yogitech, Arynga, and Itseez—all smaller companies working on technologies critical to autonomous vehicles.

    Intel also bought Nervana last year.

      • chuckula
      • 3 years ago

      Well, Intel does feel stupid and contagious.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 3 years ago

        They’ve been locked inside its chip-shaped box for weeks.

    • NTMBK
    • 3 years ago

    So Intel’s in-house IoT efforts aren’t going well, I take it?

    I’m sure this will go just as smoothly as the Infineon and Altera acquisitions.

      • MathMan
      • 3 years ago

      Do you have insight in their Altera acquisition going bad? I have seen no such indications. They paid a lot though…

        • NTMBK
        • 3 years ago

        Intel were touting that Altera were going to get a massive process advantage by moving to Intel… and yet Xilinx beat them to market with FinFET products.

          • MathMan
          • 3 years ago

          Altera was acquired only sometime last year. Way too late for that purchase to have had any impact on Altera’s introduction of FinFET.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Oh no.

    It was only $15 Billion.

    That extra 0.3 got transferred to my offshore account. Who would care about a measly 0.3 anyway really?

      • tay
      • 3 years ago

      How has intel done with previous acquisitions?
      Symantec, Infineon, Altera. I haven’t followed their shareholder reports but I don’t think they’ve done particularly well. Symantec security business is being spun off. They kept the inferior for the Infineon modem that’s in the iPhone. Hope they fail miserably with Mobileye and it ends up being a car-crash of an acquisition.

        • ronch
        • 3 years ago

        Why would you like them to fail? Why wish misfortune on anyone?

          • tay
          • 3 years ago

          I’m sorry, I was overly negative. Just annoyed that intel hasn’t really done much worthwhile other than doing a good job with their desktop & server processors. There was a huge opportunity in mobile and they completely failed. There was one with machine learning, and they’re losing to Nvidia (who is a tough competitor as we all know). Incidentally MobileEye competes with Nvidia, and I’m rooting for ngreedia as they are growing largely organically (I’m old enough to remember the 3dfx buyout!!).

        • Flying Fox
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Symantec[/quote<] You meant McAfee?

          • tay
          • 3 years ago

          Haha thanks for the correction. Yeah McAfee. Worst.

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        The Symantec acquisition at $0 was pretty cheap.

        As for Altera, it’s doing pretty well by all accounts and Intel has already shipped Broadwell Xeons with on-package FPGAs to select customers, which is more than I can say for the integration from other players in the field who talk about heterogeneous computing.

        As for Infineon, Intel took a company that wasn’t really a serious competitor to Qualcomm and has pushed out an increasingly impressive line of products over the last few years. If this was AMD playing catch-up with Intel nobody here would be calling it a failure at all, and Intel’s job with turning Infineon into a competitor for Qualcomm’s parts is frankly harder than what AMD had to do with RyZen.

      • ronch
      • 3 years ago

      Beer and wings every meal for the rest of your life.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    I want an Intel Car i7.

      • Peter.Parker
      • 3 years ago

      You’re rich. I’m aiming for the i3U (“U” for “U park it yourself”) and probably a Celeron version for my wife, she doesn’t like speed anyway.

        • EndlessWaves
        • 3 years ago

        I’ll take the High Optane version.

    • slowriot
    • 3 years ago

    $15.3B for the company Tesla dropped because they were behind the curve? Ooook. Intel must know something no one else does.

      • MathMan
      • 3 years ago

      MobilEye has one thing that most other companies (except Google) do not: millions of miles of annotated data that can be used to train deep learning networks.

      Even if they throw away everything else, that kind of stuff is worth a lot, since there is no other way to acquire it in a different way other than doing the work yourself, which can take years.

        • NTMBK
        • 3 years ago

        Is it worth half of ARM?

          • MathMan
          • 3 years ago

          I’d say it’s worth more than the ridiculous $18B that Intel paid for Altera.

            • NTMBK
            • 3 years ago

            Two dumb acquisitions don’t make for a smart acquisition 🙂

        • slowriot
        • 3 years ago

        I’m not sure MobilEye is a leader in that area or at least not a $15B leader. In fact it seems only since the break off with Tesla that mapping has become a top priority for them. Their most notable products are based on their optical recognition tech and they weren’t the beneficiaries to the data collected on Tesla cars, that’s owned by Tesla.

        These type of acquisitions though say just as much about the buyer and its quite clear Intel thinks (and they should) they’ve missed on the early opportunities in this area.

          • MathMan
          • 3 years ago

          MobilEye has been gathering data for years, long before Tesla started doing that.

          Their problem was that they rely on traditional computer vision algorithms instead of neural networks, so they were behind on that.

          But for traditional algorithms, you need large amount of data as well.

          By dropping $15B, Intel is buying time.

          In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a lot of money for a company their size if the gamble pays off.

            • jv008
            • 3 years ago

            Unfortunately all of these take overs are still with in mind ‘Intel (x86) everywhere inside’, which is destined to fail, given ARM, IMHO.

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