Intel will buy Mashery, a San Francisco manager of APIs that allow public-facing companies to make their services accessible to remote device users. No amount was disclosed in the deal, which Intel confirmed would close sometime in the second quarter.
Until now, Mashery has been a largely behind-the-scenes player that could help a company attract outside developers who would produce applications that make use of the company's services. As part of Intel, it will provide the chip manufacturer with best practices and a more assured way of connecting with users of its security service, chip information resources and other services it offers online.
A well-crafted API can link thousands of previously unreachable outsiders to a company's services by recognizing that an authorized application was trying to access them. Good API management is often key to getting more consumers tapping into a company's services. Mashery tries to ensure that APIs of its client companies are easy to understand, well-documented and accessible to developers.
The New York Times, Aetna, Coca-Cola and Best Buy have all entrusted their APIs to Mashery. Firms like eBay, Amazon Web Services and Google thrive on the strength of their public APIs.
Other companies engaged in API management include Layer 7, Apigee, MuleSoft and IBM. In some cases, the API management firm hosts its clients' APIs in its own data center or a colocation site in order to monitor API performance.
[ Want to learn more about good API management? Read Do's and Don'ts Of API Development. ]
Intel spokesmen said it would seek to retain the majority of Mashery's 125 employees. Mashery staff will become part of the Intel services division in the software and services group. It was formed two years ago to help generate services beyond the PCs and servers that are the hallmark of its x86 architecture. Through an API, an Intel service can reach a variety of devices, since it's the API's job to recognize the device accessing it and route the user to the appropriate, responding service.
An Intel statement indicated it plans a suite of cloud services, digital store fronts, location services, network services and security. API management will be key to making them effective.
"Congratulations to Mashery on their acquisition by Intel," tweeted Sam Ramji, director of strategy at another API management firm, Apigee.
"To the market overall, this announcement shows that APIs aren't just for tech companies anymore. Google and Salesforce have built API management programs, but now it's just as important for Walmart, Aetna or any large organization to have a strategy around APIs," said Dimitri Sirota, chief strategy officer and co-founder at the Layer 7 API management firm.
In December 2011, Adam Trachtenberg, director of developer network at LinkedIn, told the Business of APIs conference that the LinkedIn professional networking site found a new source of revenue by adding a hiring service through an easy-to-use API. Most users post a profile on LinkedIn, but LinkedIn's "Post a Job" service can an air an opening to hundreds of thousands of viewers.
By charging employers for its Post a Job service, LinkedIn was able to expand its revenue by 48%. LinkedIn APIs have helped 30,000 developers establish connections to LinkedIn services, Trachtenberg told the Business of APIs conference sponsored by Mashery at that time.