General Dynamics snaps up NICTA start-up Open Kernel Labs

Australian research body NICTA has sold one of its spin-off companies Open Kernel Labs.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

National ICT Australia (NICTA) has sold off one of its spin-off startups Open Kernel Labs, which develops virtualisation security software used on 1.6 billion mobile devices worldwide.

The Australian research body said Wednesday that U.S. aerospace and defence company General Dynamics has bought the company. The sale price has not been disclosed.


Open Kernel Labs provides virtualisation software for securing wireless communications in the corporate and government sector. In addition, Open Labs creates apps and content for mobile devices and in-vehicle 'infotainment' systems. The firm was spun out of NICTA in 2007.

The sale means that that NICTA has accomplished its goal -- creating a start-up, spinning it off and selling it. Most of OK Lab's 100 developers and engineers are based in Sydney, and the headquarters will remain the same under the new ownership. It will be under the leadership of OK Labs co-founder and CEO Steve Subar.

"As part of General Dynamics, we will continue to deliver innovation and excellence in the areas of mobile and automotive virtualisation," said Mr Subar. "I am looking forward to leading this expert team as we meet the growing needs of military, government, and commercial customers."

A NICTA spokesman told The Australian that the technology of particular interest developed by OK Labs was an operating system "microkernel", embedded in the chipset of handsets, which was "mission critical" for secure communications.

NICTA collaborates with Australian industries on joint projects, creates new companies, and provides skilled workers to the ICT sector through a PhD program. It owns five laboratories and employs over 700 people.

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