Intel to acquire Alibaba- and Tencent-backed switch chip maker

Barefoot Networks’ flagship product is one of the fastest networking chips in the world.

Image credit to Visual China.

On Monday, Intel announced on its website that it has signed an agreement to acquire Barefoot Networks, a startup that creates Ethernet switch chips for massive-scale data centers.

The company’s flagship product is the Tofino chip, which was introduced in 2016 and at the time claimed as the world’s fastest networking chip. The Tofino chip differs from traditional fixed-function chips as it is programmable, allowing network operators to decide for themselves what features to embed.

“Upon close, the addition of Barefoot Networks will support our focus on end-to-end cloud networking and infrastructure leadership, and will allow Intel to continue to deliver on new workloads, experiences and capabilities for our data center customers,” said Intel. The company has not disclosed the deal’s financial details.

Barefoot Networks said on its website in November 2016 that it received an investment of USD 23 million that was led by Alibaba and Tencent during the company’s Series C round.

It also announced in May 2017 that China’s tech triumvirate—Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent—were all using Tofino switch chips in their networks.

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