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Why Intel is Buying McAfee

Intel to Buy McAfee in $7.68 Billion Deal – WSJ.com.

Intel is not really getting into the PC anti-virus (AV) business, the traditional forte of McAfee.

Intel is looking at its next billion processors coming from the embedded computing market, where its Atom processor can run car systems, machines, telemedicine, power plants, smartphones, TV set-top boxes and a myriad other devices.

While recent press stories have rightly focused awareness on the lack of security in embedded systems (especially the power grid) with national security implications, the fact is that traditional software-based security products such as those from McAfee, Symantec, and CA just are not generally available on embedded products.

That will change with Intel’s acquisition of McAfee. Intel gains access to all the components of McAfee’s Internet Security Suite, which provides AV, firewall, trusted peer recognition, and other services. Those capabilities can now be baked into the mobile and embedded devices that Intel is working on with design partners. Servers and storage are another target area.

Across all embedded devices, Intel’s acquisition of McAfee is a strategic move whose need will become obvious 3-5 years from now.

More immediately, Intel gets an opportunity to make smartphone security a competitive issue since right now there isn’t any smartphone package on the market. Expect a MeeGo gadget and smartphone version of McAfee in 2011. Take that, Apple.

Update: WSJ follow-on story and analysis here with comments by Intel Software VP Renee James here. [8/20/2010 08:30]


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