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Intel has bought the Israel-based AI chipmaker Habana Labs for what is estimated to be $2 billion as announced by the corporation.
Intel aims to strengthen its fast-growing data center business as sales of personal computers have regressed. This combination solidifies Intel’s AI portfolio and advances its efforts in the growing AI silicon market which Intel expects it to be greater than $25 billion by 2024.
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Habana Labs is an Israeli startup that develops programmable deep learning accelerators for data centers. It employs more than 150 staff in Tel Aviv, San Jose, and Poland and was created by David Dahan and Ran Halutz. Their previous company PrimeSense was sold to Apple for $345 million in 2013.
After the deal with Intel, Habana Labs will remain independent and will continue to be led by its current managers; however, they will be reporting to Intel’s data platforms group.
David Dahan, the CEO of Habana Labs, talked about the topic by saying, "We have been fortunate to get to know and collaborate with Intel given its investment in Habana, and we’re thrilled to be officially joining the team. Intel has created a world-class AI team and capability. We are excited to partner with Intel to accelerate and scale our business. Together, we will deliver our customers more AI innovation, faster."
Habana will benefit from this by gaining access to Intel AI facilities, as well as significant resources built with expertise in AI software, algorithms, and researches that will make sure Habana Labs scale and advance in the future.
With five facilities in Haifa, Intel already has a powerful presence in Israel. Intel has become one of Israel's top exporters since it launched operations in 1974.
Intel's investment follows its purchase of the Israeli autonomous technology firm Mobileye for a massive $14.9 billion in 2017. This was considered to be the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli high-tech company.