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Intel Snaps Up McAfee

Here's a quick back-to-school pop quiz. Choose the best answer.

Intel is: 
a) a chip maker
b) a software company
c) a security company
d) all of the above

As of this week, the best answer is d). Intel is buying McAfee for $7.68 billion. That's right; the 'tel in the famous Wintel partnership now has a massive security presence.

The chip maker has been more than a chip maker for a while now, boasting a growing software lineup. But the move into security breaks new ground for Intel. And it suggests that security might be moving to a new home as well: to hardware, in the chip layer, rather than just at the operating-system or application level.

More than that, though, Intel -- if it can succeed in swallowing a pretty big bite in McAfee -- now has a new revenue source that could help boost its flagging financials. It turns out that Intel's core product (so to speak) is a bit commoditized these days, and margins on chip sales aren't what they used to be.

So, Intel is diversifying, expanding and, in buying McAfee, leaving Symantec as the last true monster of the security game. And by doing all of this now, Intel is also giving us at RCPU something to write about in late August. (To figure out what we mean by that, check out the next newsletter entry, which we wrote Wednesday night...) For that, Intel, we thank you.

What's your take on Intel and McAfee? What does it mean for the future of security software? Send it to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on August 19, 2010 at 11:56 AM


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