Posted on Friday 14 June 2013 by Ulster Business

Aepona

Belfast-based mobile telecoms software firm Aepona will play an integral role in Intel's Software & Services Group following its acquisition by the global chip giant.

The company is also recruiting more developers in Belfast after securing several large contracts, according to one of the company's senior management team.

Intel confirmed in April that it had bought Aepona for an undisclosed sum, reported to be in the region of £80m.

Michael Crossey, Aepona's vice president of marketing (pictured), said the deal was "not just a typical technology acquisition" so Intel could get hold of Aepona's intellectual property.

"Intel acquired Aepona for its market presence, its skills, its knowledge and its customer base. We are now part of the Network Products and Service divisions within Intel, reporting into the Software & Services Group. This site here in Belfast is a centre of excellence for that part of the business and a route into Europe. It's definitely not an IP or a technology acquisition," he told Ulster Business.

While globally recognised as a chip business, Intel also has a very large software business, which if it were a stand alone company would be one of the largest in the world. Its biggest software business is McAfee, the internet security software leader.

Crossey highlighted the recent appointment of Renee James, previously head of the software business of Intel and chair[person] of McAfee to the position of President of Intel as being a clear signal that software was clearly very strategic for Intel.

"Intel saw value in Aepona's relationships with some of the biggest mobile players in the world. We already work with the likes of Vodafone, Orange, Vimpelcom in Russia, Rogers in Canada and Sprint in the US," he added.

"For both sides this was the right deal at the right time. This was very much a positive alignment of what we were doing with Intel's larger plans. For investors it was the right opportunity and for our staff we are now the experts in a particular area for Intel."

With its core PC market flat, Intel is making a push into network and mobile software. Aepona is an industry leader in API exposure and monetization platforms for service providers around the world. Its solution allows Communications Service Providers to securely grant access to their network resources to Independent Software Vendors, network providers, enterprises and OEMs while achieving monetization opportunities. Intel also recently bought San Francisco-based Mashery, a business similar to Aepona but operating at the enterprise end of the market.

"It is an area that Intel are very interested in developing. At the end of the day we're helping operators to stay relevant and stay valuable in a world of Over-the-Top services where Google and Facebook and Amazon are taking the value. The operators are building the networks but not getting the revenues," he said.

Crossey said the company will keep the Aepona brand for the foreseeable future and noted there is continuity in the business, with its Belfast management and US heads of operations and sales all still in place.

Before the acquisition Aepona had won a countrywide deal with Vodafone in India and is on the verge of announcing another large contract in the country which Crossey says will require it to bring more software engineers on board – both in Belfast and Sri Lanka.

"We have to build a distributed system that will serve the whole of the Indian market. The deployment and delivery of that project in the next 6-12 months is key for us and we'll be hiring to help us deliver that. Right now we have open positions and we need to raise our profile as a place for skilled people to come and work," he said.

"IT skills are in demand but we have some leading edge technologies, we're part of one of the world's most attractive brands and our projects are international, which will hopefully attract people. The convergence of enterprise and mobile technologies is a good place to be and hopefully people will be attracted to the quality of the work. Belfast could just be a starting point for a career in a global organisation."

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