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Intel buys DSL firm in second acquisition of day

Intel opens its wallet twice in one day as the chip giant says it will purchase Ambient Technologies for $150 million--hours after it agrees to pick up Indian chip designer Thinkit Technologies.

Intel opened its wallet twice today as the chip giant said it will purchase Ambient Technologies for $150 million--hours after it agreed to pick up Indian chip designer Thinkit Technologies.

Ambient specializes in processors for modems for digital subscriber lines (DSL), a high-speed form of Internet access that rivals many of the features of cable Internet access. Thinkit, meanwhile, specializes in chips for communications infrastructure equipment such as routers.

Thinkit and Ambient become acquisition number 11 and 12 for Intel in the communications market since Jan. 1999. Communications is widely considered the next growth area for silicon providers. Although it primarily garners most of its revenue and profit from chips that go into PCs, Intel has been aggressively expanding into a number of new markets, including communications chips, small "appliance" servers and personal Internet devices.

"The foundation business is still there, but you'll see us above that foundation with new technology where we think we can make a difference," Andy Bryant told investors at the Banc of America Securities conference earlier this week.

Often, expansion has Intel divides to conquer?come through using the company's bankroll. The company has spent more than five billion dollars since the buying binge began, and it's invested in a number of companies through Intel Capital, its venture arm. Although twelve is the official acquisition count, the company has also made a few small purchases that have not registered. Yesterday, prior to these announcements, Bryant said "we've also done some small ones (acquisitions) that were never made public."

Ambient will be integrated into the company's Network Interface Division while Thinkit will go into the Level One subsidiary, which was formed after Intel bought Level One in 1999.