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Intel’s Wind River subsidiary claims embedded Linux dominance

Jul 22, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

A new study by VDC Research claims that Wind River is the leader in the embedded Linux marketplace. A wholly owned subsidiary of Intel since last Friday, Wind River now represents over 30 percent of embedded Linux revenues, says VDC.

VDC's "2009 Linux in the Embedded Systems Market" report is said to reveal that Wind River "achieved the market share lead" in 2008 with greater than 30 percent of total market revenue, more than seven percentage points over the next closest competitor. Touted today by Wind River, the report is also said to project that from 2008 to 2011, the mobile phone and automotive vertical markets will generate the fastest compound annual growth rates (CAGR) of worldwide Linux software and services revenue.

A spokesperson at VDC confirmed the Wind River claims, but told the company's own press release on the study won't arrive until later in this week. In last year's VDC study on embedded Linux, the research firm reported that two vendors accounted for more than half of the commercial market for embedded Linux software.

While VDC did not elaborate, the top two were likely MontaVista Software and Wind River, generally considered the leading vendors of commercial embedded Linux distributions and tools. Now, apparently, their positions have switched.

A fast Linux learner

The VDC report would seem to support anecdotal evidence — as well as Wind River's own claims — that the company has been taking a growing share of the embedded Linux market. Wind River was late to the Linux parade, compared to embedded Linux leader MontaVista Software, which just celebrated its tenth anniversary. Wind River introduced its first Linux tools in 2003, and did not fully focus on Linux until 2005.

Even now, Wind River's VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS) dominates its revenues, although Linux is moving up fast. VxWorks helped the company reign as the top revenue gatherer for many years in the market for embedded OSes and tools (Microsoft overtook it in 2004).

Earlier this year, Wind River shipped Wind River Linux 3.0, which comes with more than 500 software packages, complies with the Linux Foundation's Carrier Grade Linux 4.0 specification, and offers enhanced real-time and networking capabilities, says the company. Key additions in the release included improved support for multi-core processors and virtualization.

Intel completes acquisition

According to a statement from Intel on Friday regarding the completion of the $884 million acquisition, first announced on June 4, Wind River will continue to support ARM, MIPS, and other processor platforms in addition to Intel chips. States Intel, "Wind River will continue to develop innovative, commercial-grade software platforms that support multiple hardware architectures that are optimized for the needs of its many embedded and mobile customers."

The statement goes on to say, however, that, "The acquisition will boost Wind River's Intel-architecture focused sales as it gains access to Intel's technology investments, brand, employees and global sales force." Intel also noted that Wind River will report to its Software Services Group, headed up by Renee James.

Stated Stephen Balacco, director of the Embedded Software and Tools Practice at VDC Research Group, "Linux has demonstrated value in the embedded market as a proven and reliable alternative, and, in many cases, a complement to proprietary operating systems. Linux continues to offer the necessary groundwork for teams looking to build more sophisticated embedded devices and software applications, and leading commercial vendors like Wind River are making great strides in the market as Linux continues to permeate into more specialized embedded applications."

Stated Vincent Rerolle, SVP and GM, Linux Product Division, Wind River, "In four years Wind River established its Linux business from merely a concept to a market-leading global operation. We can attribute this success to regular and systematic customer feedback, rigorous product testing, focused investments in leading open source consortia, and a world-class support organization."

Stated Renee James, Intel VP and GM of the company's Software and Services Group, "The acquisition will deliver to Intel robust software capabilities in embedded systems and mobile devices, both important growth areas for the company."


In the coming days, there should be more on the "VDC 2009 Linux in the Embedded Systems Market" study, here and/or on this preliminary page, here, which explains basic methodology.

Our report on last year's VDC embedded Linux survey, which offers links to reports on previous installments over the last decade, may be found here.

More information on Wind River may be found here.

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