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Intel Buys McAfee 377

Several readers have noted that Intel has agreed to buy McAfee, the computer antivirus software maker, for about $7.7 billion in cash. There is also a press release available if you are into that sort of thing.
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Intel Buys McAfee

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  • Will they kill it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guruevi ( 827432 ) <evi&evcircuits,com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:17AM (#33300332) Homepage

    Pretty please? Just give all their victims - I mean customers - their money back and just kill it off already. McAfee has no right even existing.

  • Holy cow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mike260 ( 224212 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:18AM (#33300344)

    That junk is worth $7bn?

    • Re:Holy cow (Score:5, Funny)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:31AM (#33300514)
      No, but it probably wastes at least that much each year in CPU watts.
      • OMG you figured it (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

        1) Buy the worst performing AV on planet ever
        2) Hand it out for free or some cheap price
        3) Let them NEED your CPU upgrades!
        4) Profit!!!

    • Re:Holy cow (Score:5, Insightful)

      by RabbitWho ( 1805112 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:36AM (#33300588) Homepage Journal
      I think we're all thinking that. I'm so amazed at this. Someone paid 7 billion for the right to sell people magic beans.
      • Re:Holy cow (Score:4, Interesting)

        by LUH 3418 ( 1429407 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `breilavehcemixam'> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:28AM (#33301420)
        I don't get why intel would buy a software company in the first place, much less one that makes not-so-great antivirus software. Seems to me they should have put that huge wad of cash into R&D.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

          I don't get why intel would buy a software company in the first place, much less one that makes not-so-great antivirus software. Seems to me they should have put that huge wad of cash into R&D.

          Simple - to drive sales of their core product.

          Intel has a TON of software. Each in some way is to drive sales of Intel processors. Sure you still have to pay for them, but that money's just peanuts. E.g., their compilers emit code optimized for their processors (of course, they also emit crap for non-Intel CPUs).


          • Re:Holy cow (Score:5, Informative)

            by labradore ( 26729 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @12:55PM (#33303486)

            Actually, Apple is the largest retailer of music. Also, they are doing their best to become the most important distributor for TV, Movies and eBooks. Apple sells about $5B per year in thru the iTunes Music/Apps/Movies/TV/Books Store and those sales are growing at about 25% per year. While that's only about 7% of their sales right now, it's growing steadily and likely to be about as profitable as the hardware businesses. It's also likely to equal or outstrip Mac sales within a year or two.

            No, Apple is not primarily a distributor, but they are in line to become the biggest distributor. That scares the distribution competition because Apple can afford push down distribution margins to promote high-margin device sales. So, you're right they don't need the money from iTMS but iPhones and iPods and iPads aren't nearly as attractive without iTMS--that's part of what you buy when you buy the device.

            And that's the difference. Intel doesn't NEED McAfee, whereas Apple can't really operate without iTMS. Intel might find a way to differentiate future processors by adding industrial-strength security to their chips by integrating AV and management suite facilities with specialized hardware, but Intel has always benefited from being the premiere supplier of open-platform technologies and they are forced to be that way both by the market and by regulation. If they change that significantly to increase margins, they may become vulnerable to attack on both fronts. To me, $8Bn is just too much for McAfee. I think they could have got the same capabilities for a lot less money. McAfee sells low-margin, crappy AV software. They earn a few hundred million a year. Intel earns 4x the return on investment in its existing business (relative to McAfee). Also, I believe the embarrassing products McAfee sells will dilute Intel's brand. In the words of Warren Buffett, as an INTC shareholder "I feel poorer".

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      That junk is worth $7bn?

      No... Intel was up too late and made an impulse buy. It is trying to see if it can throw in McAfee with its sham-wow and shake-weight to trade for the neighbor's old lawnmower.

    • Re:Holy cow (Score:4, Insightful)

      by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:46AM (#33300782)

      I imagine intel has watched the home AV market get gobbled up by MS Security Essentials and may want to join in the free for home use game.

      I'd love to see a shakeup in the AV industry as its pretty terrible right now. I'm sick of seeing machines with horrible infections because the trial of the AV has expired. End users cannot be trusted to maintain subscriptions for something they barely understand. I also imagine intel is so deeply in bed with MS that AV is now their problem as well.

      McAfee's enterprise products sell for whatever reason. I imagine those will continue to be expensive.

      • Re:Holy cow (Score:5, Interesting)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:06AM (#33301062) Journal
        Why would the existence of MS Security Essentials possibly convince Intel to shell out billions to get in on that action?

        AV, as it stands, is basically a thankless, reactive chore, with the occasional destructive false positive to brighten your day. Now that Microsoft has come out with a competent(by the standards of the industry) and unobtrusive(by the standards of the industry) free offering from a trusted (if you are running Windows, clearly you trust them to some degree) name, the only gold left in home AV is fool's gold.

        There is still some cash to be had in corporate AV, since MS ain't exactly giving ForeFront away; but what would a company whose software experience consists largely of compilers, drivers, and the occasional linux project want getting in there?

        And, even if they do have some clever plan involving leveraging their Intel AMT motherboard stuff, why McAfee? There are plenty of smaller, presumably cheaper, outfits that are at least as competent, many more so, and the brand name won't matter once Intel starts using theirs. One imagines that they could have gotten Kaspersky for half as much, if that.

        Color me confused.
        • Re:Holy cow (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MikeURL ( 890801 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:47AM (#33301734) Journal
          Kaspersky also has the advantage of having some cool tech that MS AV does not. The virtualized sandbox and the scan for vulnerable applications come to mind.

          McAfee doesn't have anything I can think of that would get me to pay up over the MS AV. This seems like a horrible deal to me. I even sold my Intel stock because I'm irritated they are pissing away 7+ billion of my money on an AV product I won't even use. This is the problem when companies hoard too much cash. They go out and make stupid purchases because they can.
        • Re:Holy cow (Score:5, Informative)

          by nine-times ( 778537 ) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @01:50PM (#33304322) Homepage

          Not only that, but I believe Intel owns Grisoft, which means they already own an antivirus package. I don't get what they're doing here.

    • Re:Holy cow (Score:5, Informative)

      by tayhimself ( 791184 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:03AM (#33301016)
      Disk Encryption [mcafee.com] is another big part of McAfee. We not only use their software, an update of which caused BSODs a few months ago, but we've also moved to this Safeboot encryption product which is now called endpoint encryption. Intel has recently added AES-NI encryption [intel.com] instructions to its chips which they will likely port safeboot over to.

      I like truecrypt and MSE for windows systems myself but I am not an IT director.

  • Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lennier1 ( 264730 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:18AM (#33300350)

    Couldn't they have bought something that's actually worth the money?

  • Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:18AM (#33300352)

    McAfee is finally in the hands of someone qualified to figure out how to completely uninstall it.

  • Wow! (Score:5, Funny)

    by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:19AM (#33300366)
    You could buy a cross country railroad [slashdot.org] for that kind of money!
  • by DeafDumbBlind ( 264205 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:25AM (#33300436)

    WTF are they thinking. Granted they're sitting on a pile of cash, but this is silly.
    If I were an INTC shareholder I would be pretty pissed off.
    If they were looking for something to do with the cash, they should have just paid out a nice dividend.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Carewolf ( 581105 )

      WTF are they thinking. Granted they're sitting on a pile of cash, but this is silly.
      If I were an INTC shareholder I would be pretty pissed off.
      If they were looking for something to do with the cash, they should have just paid out a nice dividend.

      I would suggest putting it in a bank. What are they? Scrooge McDuck?

  • by PingSpike ( 947548 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:25AM (#33300438)

    Intel plans to release a final update to all Mcafee users that will force uninstall the software from their machines, increasing the performance of Intel systems by 300%.

    • But even that uninstall tool won't get 100% of it removed.

    • by plams ( 744927 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:44AM (#33300734) Homepage
      Or, they plan to make it even slower, and encourage users to upgrade their processors!
  • Lycos part deux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aliens ( 90441 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:26AM (#33300456) Homepage Journal
    I can see it now 10 years from now, just like Lycos, "McaFee purchased for $7.7 billion in 2010, sold for $200 million in 2015 has just been sold again today for $34 million to some company in Vietnam." Seriously, has anyone personal or enterprise had good experiences with their products?
    • Re:Lycos part deux (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:06AM (#33301048)
      Possibly, but I suspect that Intel might be after patents. While McAfee is crap software, it wouldn't surprise me if they had some patents that could help Intel with putting better anti-virus protection into their processors or adding acceleration for heuristics.
  • by SlappyBastard ( 961143 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:28AM (#33300476) Homepage
    Good move by Intel. If people become desperate for better per clock cycle performance, they'll favor the new Intel chips over AMD. And what program ropes your computer and drags it down faster than McAfee?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Spatial ( 1235392 )
      Although it's a CPU hog, that doesn't matter much because [last I looked at it] the scanning process is single-threaded and every CPU has at least two cores nowadays.

      The main performance drag is its never-ending HDD thrashing. Constant random reads are murderous for HDDs.

      Of course, Intel also make SSDs, which don't suffer quite so much from that. :)
  • by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:31AM (#33300504)
    100% marketing fluff. I really, REALLY want to know what happened under the table, what's still happening under the table, what McAfee has that 15 cheap startups don't, and how this is going to affect Intel hardware in the future.
    • "what McAfee has that 15 cheap startups don't" A deal with Microsoft.
    • by Tridus ( 79566 )

      Mcafee has lots of corporate drones who think it's a good idea to install Mcafee on everything, including database servers. When Mcafee then decides randomly to start terminating Oracle as a virus, they do great business blaming someone else.

      (Yes, that did just happen to me. No, I don't know why it was on the database server. Sounds like a very poorly thought out corporate policy though.)

  • Does McAfee offer other products of significant value because, quite frankly, it blows my mind beyond words that an anti-virus software manufacturer is worth $7.7 BILLION. Someone, please explain what the hell I'm missing here. Besides the boat...
    • Re:What??? (Score:4, Informative)

      by fvandrog ( 899507 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:38AM (#33300608)

      Does McAfee offer other products of significant value

      They have encryption software -- making those less CPU intensive (especially for cell phone and other mobile use) might actually be moderately useful.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gstoddart ( 321705 )

        They have encryption software -- making those less CPU intensive (especially for cell phone and other mobile use) might actually be moderately useful.

        Intel doesn't have any corporate interests in making things less CPU intensive. They'll give you more power in the same wattage, or the same power with less wattage.

        But, really, the more you need to upgrade hardware the better.

  • by Ornlu ( 1706502 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:33AM (#33300542)

    A list of better things you could do with $7b:

    1. Fill a swimming pool with $100 bills and go nuts.

    2. Buy several sky scrappers and blow em up, just for shits and giggles.

    3. Buy Kaspersky.

    4. Nothing. Absoluetly nothing. Ever again.

    Any other suggestions?

  • by Are You Kidding ( 1734126 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:37AM (#33300598)
    As most slashdotters already know, nothing slows your computer down more effectively than Mcafee AV--even if you have the latest and fastest Intel CPU. Optimizing Mcaffe's code would probably add more real horsepower to Intel's processors and be less expensive than designing a new generation of chips.
  • Perfect match (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tridus ( 79566 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:37AM (#33300602) Homepage

    Intel needs people to think they need these faster multi core CPUs they keep cranking out.

    And who is better at slowing Windows down to the point of uselessness then Mcafee?

    It's a perfect fit. We'll see you slow, bloated software, then also sell you CPUs to make your computer usable.

  • Seriously. Your best bet is to stuff them into a closet someplace and forget about them.
    Otherwise we'll start having CPUs that take up their own cycles just so they can figure out how to take up more cycles, all the while corrupting any software run on them, cheese-grater'ing your data, and generally prohibiting you from actually USING the machine under the pretense of "entertaining" you with myriad popups, warnings, and better still complete instituting random, undocumented refusals of various portions of

  • ... assuming of course they manage to get every last Norton AV registry key purged out of their systems first.
  • I guess they brought it in suitcases. Reminds me of the Austin Powers deleted scene.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgOYMCtv1aw [youtube.com]

  • Hardware-based AV? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:42AM (#33300700)

    Seems like this is the logical goal. Integrate AV at the hardware level and you should see a significant performance increase, plus tasty vendor lock-in.

  • I would never use Mcafee, but to my mother they are a brand name. $7 Billion? They must be offsetting tax income with this purchase, or Mcafee has some killer patents.
  • I understand trying to make the distinction between buying with stocks, but the way the summary is worded it made me picture dump trucks full of $100s being dumped on McAfee's front lawn.
  • by jayhawk88 ( 160512 ) <jayhawk88@gmail.com> on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:54AM (#33300874)

    "I've got a quarter we can flip to see if this is a good or bad thing."

  • McAfee is crap (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SpryGuy ( 206254 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @09:58AM (#33300942)

    Why does anyone use McAfee? It's crap. In my life I've only ever had two "infections" on my PC... both while McAfee was installed and running. It costs money, and yet free alternatives (like Microsoft Security Essentials) typically rank better in terms of protection. And it constantly causes slow-downs, hangs, and even crashes. It's just utter crap. Why would anyone use it? It should be left to die on the vine.

    If you currently use McAfee, you should immediately uninstall it (and top paying for it!) and install Microsoft Security Essentials instead. Say good-bye to the bloat and slowness and other complicated crap, as well as the expense.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Haffner ( 1349071 )
      My current non-tech savvy user package that I install for relatives consists of firefox running adblock plus, noscript (configured to auto-allow only first party scripts) and avg. If they get an infection, I have a handy script (on their desktop) they can run if anything ever breaks that will system restore 7 days back. I have not had to repair one of these computers in well over a year.
  • by arch ( 20455 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @10:11AM (#33301128) Journal

    Wow, I'm really surprised at this announcement and that Slashdot still has my account on profile. Good jobs on keeping that database!!!

    But seriously folks. Bashing McAfee? Are you ignorant to exactly what McAfee is? The largest AV player in the Government/Military sector. They have very large banks as customers too. But, I know it is more fun to joke about their AV performance, which is in fact on par with most AV products.

    So let me get to the business of trying to decide what this means? It is without a doubt a huge plus for Intel. They have entered into SaaS/cloud email arena with MxLogic, now have a viable FW in the Sidewinder. Can be knocking on checkpoint's gate with a EndPoint Encryption product, is the DLP solution going to rival RSA? Intel gains other network based tools such as IPS/IDS (reconnex), Network Behavioral Analysis, Foundstone, etc.

    I say the deal doesn't go through. At least, getting this past federal regulators will be quite an interesting test.

  • by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:00AM (#33301902)

    Lots of comments and jokes here about the worth of McAfree ...

    And you've got it almost completely wrong. The value of McAfree isn't in their software, its in the fact that it comes preinstalled on a massive amount of computers, it has a subscription model for recurring revenue and LOTS of people use it.

    The fact that their flagship product is a pile of crap is irrelevant because people buy it anyway, without hesitation.

    McAfee Antivirus might suck and be next to worthless, but McAfee the company is worth a lot of money because people are too ignorant to get the first part.

    Second, as far as system slow down, and this one hurts as I hate defending such shitty products ... but ...

    ALL ON-DEMAND SCANNERS KILL PERFORMANCE. They open and scan every file (EVERY file, not just exe and dlls) before passing the result along to the actual program.

    There is no way around this, the data must be check before it can be used in order to be safe. Well, no matter how fast you right code, it takes a while to scan all the files that go into making even a simple program run. There are thousands of files that get openned when an app like Firefox for Photoshop starts running, and all of those files get read into memory and checked ... BEFORE they are passed along to the app calling them. Unless you invent time bending or something, this will always end up taking a very noticeable amount of time, making your computer seem slow.

    Want your computer with McAfee to not run slow? Turn off on-demand scanning. Want a middle ground? Change the on-demand settings to be less agressive, but its probably not going to make much difference since the speed issue is mostly opening and reading the files in the first place.

    You won't find anyone with an on-demand scanner that doesn't have these problems.

    You also won't find an anti-virus company worth more other than symantec.

    So yes, this was a good deal for Intel, even if most of slashdot is too blind to see the logic in the move.

    I like slashdot a lot more when it was just real geeks with a clue, you know, before all the angsty idiots who happened to be socially inept and own a computer started calling it home as though they were geeks too.

  • How Far They've Come (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlindSpot ( 512363 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:18AM (#33302192)

    20 years ago when I got my first modem (wow it's been that long, I feel old) McAfee was *the* virus scanner. Sysops used it to scan uploads and users used it to scan downloads. Of course back then it was a small command line app that fit on one floppy and ran in 256KB (yes, K) of memory, not the massive piece of bloatware it is now. It was also free... paid versions didn't appear until Windows took over IIRC.

    Never would have guessed that they woulda end up developing into a software giant worth $7.7B. And sold to Intel of all companies.

    Heard a guy on the business channel speculating that Intel might be wanting it to develop on-chip virus scanners. Sounds like a promising application if it'll speed it up. As it is now scanners as no faster now as it was 20 years ago, but back then we only had 30MB drives to scan so it ran a full scan in under 30 seconds. Now we have 300GB or more and it takes about 3 hours... no wonder people hate virus scanners.

  • by wsgeek ( 633907 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @11:22AM (#33302260)
    Instead of giving Dell cash to stay away from AMD (which is frowned upon), they will give away McAfee licenses. It's that simple.
  • by Necroman ( 61604 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @12:16PM (#33302948)

    If remember the McAfee bug [slashdot.org] from a few months back, Intel was hit by this bug and shutdown their network. Maybe Intel is forking over the cash to fire whoever screwed up at McAfee and caused this problem.

  • by popeye44 ( 929152 ) on Thursday August 19, 2010 @12:51PM (#33303404)




    That right there made them more popular than they ever should have been. "everybody had that login"

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.