[Full disclosure: I work for MontaVista]
Cavium Networks announced Friday that the acquisition of MontaVista is complete. MontaVista Software, Inc. is now MontaVista Software, LLC.
When we all found out in a company meeting on November 10 that MontaVista was being acquired, no one really knew what to think. We have been doing business with Cavium for years, providing operating systems for its industry-leading networking equipment, but it was a surprise to find that they wanted to own us. It was not readily apparent in those first few minutes why we would be of interest to a company whose rising star shines on hardware rather than software. However, over the past month we have all learned a bit about each other, and some of the big win-win scenarios I initially described in my blog post on the subject are absolutely true. (Yes, I consider myself to be prescient!)
Cavium is in a very unique position to explode onto a hungry marketplace with solutions in nearly every quarter for embedded and semi-embedded Linux. By embedded I mean hard embedded devices and appliances, automotive and aerospace control systems, networking equipment, and so on. These are the devices on which both Cavium and MontaVista have focused until now, and they will continue to be a very strong focus going forward, especially in terms of MontaVista’s Carrier Grade Linux offering.
By “semi-embedded” I mean devices that traditionally have used a hard embedded and/or real-time operating system (RTOS) but are now being recast in the marketplace as more general-purpose devices, including smartphones, netbooks, set-top devices, automotive “infotainment” systems (IVI), and the universe of new possibilities opening up with the proliferation of 3G and 4G cellular internet service. Mashups that were once the realm of science fiction are now commonplace. The combination of GPS and broadband internet means I can ask my cellphone what the weather is like and it will tell me, right where I am standing, with very few clues as to what I want. These systems are much more complex than traditional embedded devices, and must take input from a wide variety of sources, including a user whose expectations are being continually reset.
This is a market where all companies are newcomers, and both Cavium and MontaVista are well-positioned to dive in. There are other companies in similar positions, two in particular—not to name any names—but one is now tied to a massive single-platform system that is not ideally suited to hard- or semi-embedded, and the other is highly focused on very specific embedded applications. No one else in the embedded Linux sector, or frankly in the entire embedded marketplace, has the flexibility that the Cavium/MontaVista merger brings to the table. The combined force of a highly flexible hardware and software provider make this a very exciting place to be at this point in history.