McAfee rivals respond to Intel acquisition

As the dust settles on Intel's shocking announcement, rival security companies weigh in with insight on the purchase

The tech world is still recovering from the shock of Intel purchasing McAfee for nearly US$8 billion. As analysts and media struggle to make sense of the move, McAfee competitors weigh in with insight and opinion regarding the Intel acquisition.

Here is a sampling of what rival security organizations have told me about the Intel McAfee purchase:

Philippe Courtot, Qualys CEO:

"This acquisition is another example of the rapid consolidation taking place in the enterprise software industry, as traditional high tech vendors have an increasingly harder time competing against SaaS [software-as-a-service] and cloud computing offerings and can only find growth by embarking on aggressive pricing against their competitors to steal market share."

This is precisely what McAfee did against Symantec. Intel certainly gains security expertise with this acquisition, though it is unclear at this stage how they will leverage McAfee's products."

Randy Abrams, ESET director of technical education:

"I don't expect the acquisition of McAfee to make a significant difference in the security landscape. The move is a financial move that adds a revenue stream for [Intel]. McAfee employees may enjoy new discounts on Intel hardware, but other than that I would expect business as usual. Intel may potentially use McAfee technologies in new products and in interesting ways, however in the big picture this will be a few pixels.

That McAfee is to be a wholly-owned subsidiary points toward business as usual, except profits will now be part of the Intel corporation. Fundamentally, this is little different than a corporate re-org where managers participate in a cake walk and little or nothing changes for the employees, the products, or the nature of the company."

Juan Santana, Panda Security CEO:

"It is an unexpected move that highlights the importance of IT security and underscores the health of the industry going forward. In a world where most appliances and gadgets that consumers use have some kind of Internet connectivity, security becomes a differentiator.

Intel recognizes this and they have taken a step forward to position themselves well for this evolution. Computer security can't be ignored and this move highlights once again the need for it to be top of mind for consumers. We don't expect any changes in the offering to consumers as a result of the transaction."

John Hering, Lookout CEO:

"Intel's acquisition of McAfee signals to the industry that smartphones and other connected devices are joining the web of devices we trust with critical data and that these devices need to be protected. We have seen threats rising across the major mobile platforms and expect this trend to increase as mobile devices continue to become the dominant computing platform."

Andrews Storms, nCircle director of security operations:

"Security needs to move away from software and into hardware, so this move makes perfect sense. Other hardware vendors, including HP, have been buying security companies lately; watch out Cisco!"

Judging from this initial round of commentary and feedback from rival security and mobility companies, while the news that Intel is purchasing McAfee was a surprise, it apparently makes perfect sense given the growing trend of mobility and connectivity, and the rising tide of security threats.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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