Intel's acquisition of McAfee -- originally announced last August -- has passed regulatory hurdles and is now official. The question now is: "What does the future hold with the combination of one of the leading chip manufacturers and one of the leading security vendors?"
On the surface, Intel will still be Intel -- developing new processors and chip architectures and striving to put an "Intel Inside" sticker on as many PCs as possible, and McAfee will still be McAfee -- providing products and services that help consumers and businesses protect those PCs from malicious threats. The value of the strategic alliance between the two lies in what the two work on together behind the scenes.
Renée James, Intel senior vice president and general manager, explains, "The acquisition of McAfee adds not only world-leading security products and technologies to Intel's computing portfolio, but also brings incredibly talented people focused on delivering products and services that help make connecting to the mobile Internet safer and more secure."
That is the crux of what Intel was seeking in purchasing McAfee. The tools and services McAfee provides today are nice, but the true value of McAfee lies in its accumulated talent and its ability to work with Intel to secure and protect the platforms and technologies of tomorrow -- as proactively as possible.
A press release from Intel states, "Intel and McAfee believe today's approach to security does not adequately address the billions of new Internet-ready devices, including PCs, mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and ATM machines. With the surge in cyber threats, providing protection to a diverse online world requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services."
The rise in mobile malware is just one example of the need for new security tools and models to address emerging technologies. Consumers and IT admins have become fairly well indoctrinated into the need for fundamental security tools like antimalware and firewall protection for PCs, but smartphones and tablets represent a "wild west" environment wide open to attack.
As devices like televisions, cars, home appliances, and virtually anything you can think of get connected to the Internet, they present security concerns that need to be addressed as well. Intel wants to establish itself as the primary provider of the processors and hardware architecture that drive these connected devices of the future, and baking security in from the start with the help of McAfee will allow Intel to set itself apart from the competition.