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Intel forks over $7.7B on McAfee, but why?

So the big get bigger.

Intel will buy McAfee and its security portfolio for $7.68 billion. The rationale, according to a statement by Intel CEO Paul Otellini, is that there is insufficient security for the booming number of non-PC endpoints–phones, TVs, other consumer electronics attached to the Internet.

Said Otellini:

“With the rapid expansion of growth across a vast array of Internet-connected devices, more and more of the elements of our lives have moved online. In the past, energy-efficient performance and connectivity have defined computing requirements. Looking forward, security will join those as a third pillar of what people demand from all computing experiences.


“The addition of McAfee products and technologies into the Intel computing portfolio brings us incredibly talented people with a track record of delivering security innovations, products and services that the industry and consumers trust to make connecting to the Internet safer and more secure.”

One security VAR was stunned to hear the news, which broke this morning. “Geez, I wonder if Symantec is next,” he wondered aloud. Who might buy Symantec? “HP,” he said without a nanosecond of hesitation.

On further reflection, he said Intel’s move is shrewd but risky.

“This deal really could change the landscape, depending on how the OEMs take it. If OEMs [like Dell, HP, etc.] see this as a good thing, that it will be less of a problem to install security software on the endpoints, it’ll be a good thing. But if the OEMs are tightly aligned with Symantec [or another McAfee competitor] that poses a problem.”

While Otellini focused on non-PC endpoints, this VAR said Motorola owns that appliance market. “Intel owns the chip. They’ll push encryption and antivirus to the chip.”



This post was updated Thursday morning with additional comment.

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