Intel acquires security giant McAfee aiming for on-chip security

August 19, 2010, By Thomas Antony

In a surprise move today, Intel acquired antivirus developer McAfee for $7.68 billion in stock. Through the deal, Intel hopes to bring in tougher hardware security directly on the processors as well as tighter integration between the chips and security software. Intel is also interested in implementing the security systems in mobile and embedded systems, which are often not as secured as desktop platforms.

The boards of both the companies have approved the deal but there is an unspecified delay before the merger is completed. This hinges on both the McAfee shareholders and regulatory hurdles. The acquisition has potential to stir up some dirt in the security software market. Currently, the market is led by McAfee and Symantec, primarily targeting Windows users. With the support of an industry giant like Intel, McAfee would be getting a substantial if not unfair advantage since they will be the ones making the processors which they are supposed to protect. We will leave that to the regulatory bodies to decide that.

It is not currently known if the possible security benefits will be platform agnostic or whether it will be specific to Windows. But it is likely it would be limited to Windows as, having the largest marketshare, Windows is still the biggest target for malware.

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