Intel's Deal for 'Buggy Whip' Maker McAfee Will Impact IT
Security analysts are still digesting the implications of Intel acquiring McAfee for $7.68 billion. The purchase plan comes four months after McAfee was forced to apologize for an antivirus update that shut down Windows XP computers around the world -- including PCs at Intel.
The acquisition comes on the heels of Symantec's PGP acquisition, IBM's BigFix acquisition, and Hewlett-Packard's Fortify acquisition earlier this week.
Intel said it's investing in McAfee, in part, to address billions of new Internet-ready devices, including and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices, and ATM machines as well as the accompanying surge in cyberthreats.
"As a result of this particular acquisition, Intel can now deliver security as part of their hardware and device business line," said Pat Clawson, CEO of Lumension. "This not only changes the fundamental security landscape, it will have a ripple effect throughout the industry."
Buying Buggy Whips?
With about 80 percent of the PC processor market, Intel is looking for ways to grow in other areas of computing. Clawson said adding McAfee to the Intel mix will offer the chipmaker three benefits: Additional technology to add value in smartphone devices that are coming under malicious hacker attack, the ability to potentially embed security into the PC platform, and the capability to develop security within the cloud-computing infrastructure.
But the acquisition isn't an automatic success. Intel will face challenges. Andrew Jaquith, an analyst at Forrester, said Intel's purchase of McAfee is a lot like a horseless-carriage vendor buying a leading supplier of buggy whips.
"Given the risks associated with this deal, customers should be wary of making long-term commitments to McAfee until Intel's intentions are clear," Jaquith said. "It would be best if McAfee was left to manage itself, largely as a stand-alone company."
However, Jaquith added, Forrester has spoken to many McAfee customers in the last several months who have been upset with McAfee's handling of the DAT file problem in April, which caused widespread service outages. He expects customers who have already been angling to jump ship will use this deal as an excuse to accelerate those plans.
IT Security Impacts
The Intel acquisition will have yet-to-be-understood impacts on the IT security industry. Intel has elevated security to be on par with its strategic focus on energy-efficient performance and Internet connectivity.
There is a lot of wait-and-see going on in the IT industry. Chipmakers like AMD could feel pressure to add security features. Symantec could become an acquisition target. Consolidation in the middle of the market could continue.
Clawson is betting the acquisition will work out well for Intel and the IT industry, as companies will need depth in security technology as well as breadth: "Core security offerings by large infrastructure providers like Intel and IBM will be a mile long but an inch deep, and focused security suites and platforms can offer added depth that many companies will need."
Posted: 2010-08-20 @ 12:29pm PT
What the HE** would any company want with mcafees? They produce nothing but slow buggy software that has little or no chance of detecting or slowing viruses.