Intel acquired API management firm Mashery today. readwrite enterprise posted a very nice write-up on how Mashery fits into the greater Intel strategy:

Intel is in the midst of a shift away from just selling chips to selling software and services. This change, while little-noticed, has been long in the making. Intel bought McAfee for $7.7 billion in 2010, putting it into the security-software business. In 2005, Intel bought a smaller company, Sarvega, which specialized in XML gateways. (XML, or extensible markup language, is a broad descriptor of a file format commonly used in APIs; an XML gateway transports files to make APIs possible.)

Ideally, Intel might sell the chips inside the servers running the software programs that communicate via these APIs, too. (It has a substantial business selling such chips.) But what’s more important is the notion that Intel has a product offering that speaks to innovative startups, not just struggling PC manufacturers.

With the shift in the market from SOAP to REST over the last several years, and the explosion of APIs for just about everything, especially cloud and web services, tools like Mashery help both with the transformation and with gluing all the bits together. Because you can decide which bits of the API to expose and how, Mashery is a much more services-oriented way to manage which features – and what data – are exposed to different groups of users. It is an application-centric view of security with API management as the key piece. Stated another way, Intel is moving away from the firewall and SSL security model we are all familiar with.

Many in the security space don’t see Intel as a player, despite its acquisition of McAfee. But Intel has been quietly developing products for tokenization, identity services, and security gateways for some time. Couple that with API security, and you start to get a clear picture of where Intel is headed – which is distinctly different than what McAfee offers for endpoints and back offices today.