Intel buys AI startup Habana Labs for $2 billion

Technology

FILE PHOTO: The Intel logo is shown at E3, the world’s largest video game industry convention in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake/FIle Photo

(Reuters) – Intel Corp has acquired Israel-based artificial intelligence firm Habana Labs for about $2 billion, the chipmaker said on Monday, in a bid to strengthen its fast-growing data-center business.

As PC sales have stagnated, Intel has increasingly been depending on its sales to data centers, which provide behind-the-scenes computing power for mobile and web-based apps. Those apps, in turn, rely on artificial intelligence for features like photo and speech recognition.

“More specifically, Habana turbo-charges our AI offerings for the data center with a high-performance training processor family and a standards-based programing environment to address evolving AI workloads,” Navin Shenoy, general manager of Intel’s data platforms group, said in a statement.

Habana will remain an independent business unit led by its current management team and report to Intel’s data platforms group.

The company will continue to be based in Israel and its Chairman Avigdor Willenz will serve as a senior adviser to Intel, the companies said.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila

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