In acquiring the education software company Kno, Intel Corp., a leading Silicon Valley manufacturer of computer technology, says it is expanding its efforts to establish a presence in the world of educational content.
The company, which has boasted of its ability to “change the way students learn,” partnered with publishers to provide materials delivered through digital means. Kno textbooks include interactive features, assessments, and other tools. “They are the same books, only smarter” is how Kno has described those materials.
The prospect of securing Kno’s digital content library, which has 225,000 higher education and K-12 titles derived through partnerships with 75 educational publishers, was enticing to Intel, said John Galvin, vice president of the company’s sales and marketing group.
“[O]ur mission is to support the rapid technology adoption in the classroom,” Galvin said in a post on the company’s website. “We are working to create an ecosystem of hardware, software, and digital content specifically designed to help students learn.”
Intel was co-founded in 1968 by Robert Noyce and Gordon Moore, both of whom oversaw the creation the world’s first microprocessor, according to a company history. Based in the Silicon Valley, Intel is now a worldwide producer of semiconductors and other products. It has net revenues of $53 billion and employs 82,000 workers, more than half of them in the United States.
Over at Gigaom, journalist Om Malik writes that the acquisition is a reflection of Kno’s failed ambitions, saying that many of the education software company’s moves have not worked out. Malik says his sources tell him that Kno sold for “pennies on the dollar.” (A request for comment to Kno from Education Week has not yet been returned.)
He says the company “in many ways is a case study in Silicon Valley hubris, where white-boarding and theoretical thinking doesn’t always match up with the reality of the real world.”
A spokeswoman for Intel, Lisa Malloy, declined in an interview to comment on the Gigaom piece, or the price of buying Kno. But she said Intel had much to gain from the acquisition.
In a separate e-mail, she said Intel’s purchase “stems from years of working together and we want to scale Kno’s vast content platform, library and capabilities to new levels, especially internationally.”
“Teachers have told us that they don’t just want a PDF of text, they want students to be able to dig in to the content—interact with it,” Malloy added. “This is [what differentiates] Kno, with technology that allows publishers to move from essentially just a PDF to rich digital content with embedded resources in a cost-effective way.”