Intel buys McAfee, has hardware security in the crosshairs

This morning, Intel announced in a press release that they will be purchasing the computer security giant McAfee to the tune of $7.68 billion. According the release, Intel wants to integrate security as part of their overarching strategy in “in energy-efficient performance and Internet connectivity.” However, McAfee is by no means a struggling company financially. They enjoyed double digit multi-year growth and 80% gross margins last year, and despite a fairly large faux pas a while back concerning a certain update that did a certain amount of damage to a certain large amount of computers globally, they definitely aren’t in need of being acquired. The move is a strategic one for Intel. Getting into the hardware based security business is something that needs to done, says Intel senior vice president Renee James.

“Hardware-enhanced security will lead to breakthroughs in effectively countering the increasingly sophisticated threats of today and tomorrow. This acquisition is consistent with our software and services strategy to deliver an outstanding computing experience in fast-growing business areas, especially around the move to wireless mobility.”

Dave DeWalt, President and CEO of McAfee, also believes that the partnership will increase their ability to serve their customers.

“The cyber threat landscape has changed dramatically over the past few years, with millions of new threats appearing every month. We believe this acquisition will result in our ability to deliver a safer, more secure and trusted Internet-enabled device experience.”

This is another big step in the direction of platform dominance for Intel. Since their humble beginnings as a chipmaker in mid-20th century, Intel has grown to dominate other areas of computing, like network Interface cards, integrated graphics chipsets, and parallel computing solutions. Acquiring McAfee will certainly go a long way in pursuing dominance in the hardware based security field. 

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