Google buys stealth startup Agnilux

It’s no secret that Internet giant Google has been on something of a shopping spree in recent months, but the company’s latest acquisition is raising a few eyebrows for what’s not being said. Google has acquired Agnilux, a stealth startup based in San Jose, California that has been working on…well, nobody really knows.

The New York Times recently looked into Agnilux and found only that it was working on a server of some sort, may have had some sort of deal with Cisco. However, what makes the deal intriguing is that Agnilux was founded mainly by former employees of Apple and PA Semi (the chipmaker Apple acquired about a year ago to make its own low-power mobile processors), and TiVo’s former software architect is also in at the ground level.

The acquisition was first reported by peHub, and no financial terms of the deal have been disclosed.

According to Marketwatch, a Google spokesman said in a statement that “While we’re pleased to welcome the Agnilux team to Google, we don’t have any details to share right now.”

Some industry speculation has Google’s interest in Agnilux stemming from a desire to wring more efficiency from its power-hungry data centers; others have mused that Google might be looking to expand its hardware business. Google already offers the Google Search Appliance and Google Mini to companies who want to deploy in-house Google search capabilities.

According to Marketwatch, Amarjit Gill is listed on professional networking service LinkedIn as Agnilux’s founder. Gill was a sales executive with P.A. Semi, a firm acquired by Apple in 2008, that developed power-efficient chips mostly used in telecom gear.

Other former P.A. Semi employees at Agnilux, according to LinkedIn, include Senior Principal Engineer Olof Johansson. Johansson was employed at Apple for roughly one year, after spending about three years with P.A. Semi, according to his profile.

“A person familiar with the deal said Google acquired the firm not for silicon expertise or to build actual hardware, but for help with porting Google platforms like its Chrome and Android operating systems onto other devices—like tablets, or possibly even television set-top boxes,” reported Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone at the New York Times.

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