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Intel to Acquire Chip Startup Barefoot Networks

Intel is stepping into the market for networking chips by acquiring Barefoot Networks, a six-year-old startup led by Craig Barratt, the former CEO of Alphabet’s Access unit, home to the Google Fiber service. Barefoot Networks makes software and chips that handle networking functions, and the deal puts Intel into more direct competition with Broadcom, the largest company in the segment. 

The deal shows how Intel CEO Bob Swan is trying to expand the chip maker’s business into new areas, and comes three months after Nvidia reportedly outbid Intel to acquire networking chip maker Mellanox Technologies for $6.9 billion. These deals, and the competition for them, illustrate the growing importance of networking for chip makers, who see it as a key to controlling more of the market for data center equipment. 

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