Intel adds to 'digital home' investments

Intel Corp. has invested in three companies that it believes will help make home entertainment devices better and easier to use, the company announced Wednesday.

Two of the recipients of the funding, portal vendor Synacor Inc. and digital magazine distributor Zinio Systems Inc., had previously received investments from Intel. A third company, Gteko Ltd. announced the investment as part of a US$12 million round of funding.

Founded in 1992, Gteko sells technical support software that is used by such technology companies as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Canon Inc. It is based outside of Tel Aviv, Israel.

San Francisco-based Zinio distributes electronic versions of magazines like BusinessWeek, Cosmopolitan, and U.S. News & World Report that can be read using the company's Zinio Reader software. Synacor sells portal software that Internet service providers can use to provide subscription services to their customers.

"These new investments were made to support the wide-spread adoption, use and sharing of digital entertainment in the home," said Laura Anderson, an Intel spokeswoman.

Anderson declined to say how much money Intel had invested in the three companies, but she said that Intel expects to make a number of similar investments over the next year -- particularly in the area of digital video.

The money behind the investments came from the $200 million Digital Home Fund, which was established by Intel's venture capital division in January 2004 to foster the development of consumer electronics technology.

Intel Capital manages a number of such funds, including the $250 million Intel 64 Fund, which invests in companies developing products related to the company's Itanium microprocessor. The company has also set up a $500 million fund, called the Intel Communications fund, which invests in networking companies.

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