WELL-HEELED CHIPMAKER Intel is getting into the shoe business after investing in a Russian shoe shop.
Yesterday Intel announced that it made "multi-million" dollar investments in two Russian firms. Altergeo, a firm that offers location-based services is an understandable investment, given the recent media coverage surrounding augmented reality applications, however somewhat more surprising is Intel's decision to invest in Sapato, a classy online shoe shop based in Russia.
Sapato has reportedly managed to secure the majority of its required $12 million in funding from Intel's investment arm, Intel Capital, which tries to diversify the chipmaker's interests. Last year Intel Capital shelled out $327 million on various investments but it did not say exactly how much it spent on its two latest investments.
Location based services, such as the ability to flog advertisements, products or services based on a user's current location, are being promoted as a future source of revenue for internet companies such as Bing, Facebook and Google.
As for Intel's decision to get into the shoe selling business, perhaps it wants to further its celebrity image. After all there's only so much will.i.am can do, even for Intel, but you'd not be the only one if you thought this deal was cobblers.
Then again, for all we know, Sapato might bundle in a Sandy Bridge chip with every pair of Louboutins. We think, however, that as good as Sandy Bridge chips are, a handbag will remain the preferred accessory of high-end shoe shoppers. µ
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