back to article Fear as motivator: why Intel acquired McAfee

Intel and McAfee made a surprise announcement early Thursday that the chip megamaker plans to acquire the security-software giant in a $7.68bn all-cash deal, and across the technical and financial communities, the response was a nearly unanimous "WTF?" But during a webcast conference with reporters and analysts, Intel CEO …


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  1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Trying to kick start a dead donkey of a failed capitalist market economy with a turkey investment?

    "It's all about creating a perception in the minds of millions of consumers that the cloud is a scary place — a scenario, as we noted, that Intel went out of its way to promote in Thursday's webcast "

    Hmmm? Those who know the Cloud and clouds extremely well know the extreme FUD in that offering, and therefore also the real precarious state of Intel's Intellectual Property position in the new market place.

    If you agree with ..... The Cloud and ITs clouds are all about Sublimely Controlling Perception, and that is also for Absolute Power over the Virtually Primitive Minds of billions of consumers/devices/virtual machines ..... award yourself a gold star, for that is where IT is at today.

    And if you aint playing in that theatre of operations, you aint gonna be doing anyone any good and will be subject to remote third party control shenanigans, which would be their simple desires and complex wishes.

    1. Stone Fox

      I am going mad?

      Because amanfrommars actually made sense to me there....!

      The other thing that makes sense is buying AMD CPU's the moment Intel start bundling a copy of McAfee with every chip. I do NOT want a slice on horrible bloatware that's murder to uninstall.

      1. DrXym

        Yes you're going mad

        His post doesn't make a lick of sense.

        1. Steve Gill

          No, he's right

          The message was extremely clear - must go lie down now

      2. Carl Pearson

        As A Hatter

        A) Going to the other side will not help. AMD is losing this war, but they have yet to surrender. Intel has the goods hardware-wise.

        B) There would be no "uninstalling" of firmware!

        Interesting to see how they pull this off. McAffee is a Windows product. Logic may remain the same (keep bad guys out), but implementation will be completely different at the chip level. Perhaps DNSSEC would be involved, who knows. One thing for sure, anti-virus is not a requirement. For this to work there will HAVE to be the ability to turn it off. There are times when it is not needed.

        I'm not envisioning bundling of a 'doze only product, or a re-working of that product for Mac or *nix. At chip level you don't care about the operating system. They're going to have to come up with a completely different implementation of what "anti virus" means.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    When I heard the announcement, my first thought was dedicated on-motherboard anti-virus crunching.

    This would perhaps be implemented using an ASIC with in-built heuristics processing to off-load the CPU and O/S from such mundane tasks.

    Virus signatures could still be updated perhaps using on-board storage like the new SanDisk iSSD -- which could also hold the operating system. Main storage for data would be off board.

    Nice, neat solution (which will no doubt get ripped apart by the rest of you!) :)

    1. Marvin the Martian
      Paris Hilton


      You just run the viruscode in a separate thread on the processor. And then don't let it interact with anything. And let it run very slowly so it doesn't use almost any energy. Simple!

      Or actually run all programs in separate threads depending on their dodgyness; and then let the user's security setting (from "AOL retard" to "paranoid") kill all threads above a given level.

    2. It wasnt me
      Thumb Down


      "This would perhaps be implemented using an ASIC "

      You know all those updates you keep getting for virus scanners, every time someone writes a new virus? We'll, the cost could head marginally north if its an ASIC re-spin that gets delivered 4 times a week.

      Just saying.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I agree

    The cloud is a scary place. That's why I try to stay out of it.

  4. Goat Jam

    Security in hardware

    I've heard that before. I think it was called Palladium.

    As for purchasing that clusterfuck known as McCrappy, well I think the WTF? still applies.

    If they manage to infect their CPU's with McCrappy "quality" security mechanisms then I guess I will be restricting myself to AMD, unless the ARM camp get themselves sorted anyway.

    1. kevin biswas

      Well, at least they didnt buy...


  5. M Gale

    Just a quickie

    "We also recently launched the Intel anti-theft technology, which will disable a computer if it's lost or stolen."

    The smart thief knows that a computer is worth less on the black market than its component parts. Just like cars.. you can fit the best immobiliser in the world but it doesn't stop a professional from jacking it onto a pickup, taking it back to the workshop, ripping it apart and selling the bits.

  6. adrianrf

    most of the eleventy-squillion was wasted...

    the "Intel Inside" campaign is one of the biggest, lamest marketing flops of all time.

    what's the unique brand promise that it's ever successfully established?

    the Intel "experience" is for the vast majority of people really the Windows experience: vulnerable as hell; grinding to a halt after a few years of accumulating viruses etc., so you just go buy another box.

    1. Flybert

      I don't know how much of it is marketing

      however Intel was "inside" 81.0% of PC and laptops built in Q1 2010

      Intel inside 100% of Apple Mac ..

      I've not had an Intel chip fail in 13 years .. my 200MMX still boots up fine ..

      "Intel Inside" might be lame .. but it means reliability to me

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Intel Insider information

        Might not Intel being in 81% of PCs be more to do with their anticompetitive practices than the comparative value of their product?

    2. Mark Aggleton
      Thumb Down


      Enough said

    3. CD001

      The fact that...

      The mere fact that you can still get T-Shirts with something that looks remarkably like that "Intel Inside" logo but say, oh such witty things as "Satan Inside", is testament to the success of the campaign I'd have thought.

      Besides - I tend to buy chips on performance (judged by published benchmark results before purchase) - and I'm now on my first Intel processor for a long time (previous 2 home PCs were AMD), Intel have taken the lead at the moment.

      Must admit though - my current i7 overclocks beautifully.

  7. James 47

    Nokia next?

    It would be huuuuuuuuuuuuge. Get Nokia to ditch it's terrible software business, put Intel's on there (Intel already pays Nokia to get into Meego), combine Intel's hardware with Nokia's manufacturing and logistics skills to produce a mobile behemoth.

    Seeing as how Intel paid 57% more than McAfee is worth, this would price a share in Nokia at, what, $13 - $15 per share? Adding to that, Nokia is considered well undervalued at the moment too so that 's not a bad price for 40% of the smartphone market and essentially the rest of the mobile phone market. Hmm, time to go long Nokia I think.

    It would mean the end of Symbian though.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    No, seriously, WTF

    I'm sorry. I have worked for Intel. What they know about security doesn't fit on a single index card. Intel's internal VPN was a nightmare, it's solution set for the machines it gives employees results in massive degradation in performance and battery life, and Intel itself was brought to its knees by a McAfee virus update file,

    Since they haven't been able to eat security dog-food correctly, what makes anybody think they will be able to do it "right" for everybody else?

    And, Intel can put all the security bits it wants in its silicon, if the price/performance ratio isn't right for a smartphone, or its performance/watt isn't right, nobody will care.


    1. Keith Doyle
      Thumb Up

      Makes perfect sense.

      Intel undoubtedly found out that it's cheaper to buy Mcaffe than licenses for all the AV software on their in-house machines. Strictly economics.

      Unlike many of the rest of us, who've realized that AV signature detection is a scam technology. We instead save the money by uninstalling the AV programs and using other technologies (the ones you may not be aware of because they're not associated with slimy scare-tactic marketing). Technologies like execution protection, signaturing and whitelisting all known executables, etc. Better permissions controls, not running as Admin, etc. External firewall appliances. You know, technologies that can actually prevent a virus invasion from happening in the first place, rather than just attempting to detect it after it already has...

  9. Lou Gosselin

    Not quite right

    I've got no problem with intel trying to get further into the software ecosystem. And there's no doubting that the software industry is plagued by major security deficiencies at nearly every bend. Despite the widespread publicity, we're still fighting with the same vulnerabilities being implemented over and over again.

    However, I am having trouble seeing why any of mcafee's product line should be developed in silicon. They sell a security solution which intercepts attacks before they reach microsoft's holes, which is good, but we still need the os/app to fix the root cause.

  10. No. Really!?

    Today's phrase that pays -- WTF?

    First off; MacAfee -- Really!? Of all of the security vendors, that's your choice? And you want to pay a premium!?, Ok.

    More importantly; last time I checked the black hat malware writers were winning the war with the white hat security vendors. I can't imagine moving the AV software into silicon is going to help long term. Likely to make things easier. Somehow I suspect that I will still need to run security software on top of all of this.

    Besides haven't we been down a similar road before with Microsoft? If buying and integrating an AV vendor worked out so well for them, I surprised that Intel needs or want to. Inspite of how tasty securing the mobile space may seem.

  11. Mikel

    I am concerned

    Obviously Intel has decided to double down on their commitment to their oldest and best friend in the industry. This does not bode well for Linux, which neither has nor needs any McAfee products.

    Maybe it's time to shift to ARM on the client anyway and this will be a temporary nuisance.

  12. TaabuTheCat

    Failed strategy, failing faster.

    If you could show me just one AV product today whose only deficiency was that it needed silicon to make it effective, this might make some sense. But let's be real for a moment. The pros are in the game now and any serious threat has been successfully tuned to get through the latest versions of every single AV product, with all the knobs turned up to 11, long before it hits the street. All Intel's going to do is make sure the exploit gets to run a little sooner.

    Fix the real problem: an insecure OS.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Intel & Mickeysoft

    Intel has been joined at the hip with Mickeysoft for the past decade. Now the world is moving away from the Mickeysoft O/S and Intel decides to spend billions on a company that (marginally) secures the dying Mickeysoft O/S?

    McAfee shareholders must be ecstatic about this move - Intel shareholders, not so much.

  14. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

    Eleventy squillion.

    I am glad to see my favourite demarcation of "a ridiculous amount of something" proliferating. Huzzah and cheering!

  15. Mage Silver badge


    The Intel execs must be eating ones with BSE. I still don't get this.

    1) Any security mechanism in Silicon has nothing to do with any McAfee product.

    2) It's really only Windows specific

    3) The whole concept of how McAfee and other like products work is flawed.

    IBM 1970s era "FUD". Psychology, not Technology?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Your all wrong....

    McAfee = Dog slow.

    New processor (intel of Course). Kerching.

    1 year later

    McAffe = Dog Slow

    New Processor. Kerching.

    1 year later......

    See, you just keep making the AV more and more of a dog and people will keep buying new processors to keep up.

  17. s. pam Silver badge

    Virus Inside

    Consider that systems can still work, in degraded levels of effectiveness when a Virus hits.

    Now consider that with virus SW embedded what will happen.

    Complete DDOS(ervices).

    Virus Inside!

  18. adrianww

    I just assumed...

    ...that Intel were buying McAfee to find out how on earth a few bits of software can manage to bring high-end quad-core i7 and Xeon processors to their knees and drain them of significant percentages of their performance. Useful research for future generations of processor development, etc.

    Of course, Symantec/Notrun would have been an even better match for that kind of research.

    1. Lionel Baden
      Thumb Up


      i need another keyboard ....

      Top Post

  19. Anonymous Coward


    I can understand Microsoft buying an AV company and they did well with their purchase of a small company with a good lab. But, why would INTEL buy a company that bases itself on the security issues of one OS? I will never buy an APPLE with a mcafee chip, nor will I buy a linux system with a mcafee chip. This is the worst MBA f'up I have ever seen. Intel, enjoy the lunacy that is McAfee..

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Intel analysis: Why marry?: Why not 'friends with benefits'?

    In general, I agree with your analysis of why Intel wants to acquire McAfee. However, in your anaysis, I think you glossed over two points: Why so much? IMNSHO, it is because Intel wants the deal to close fast before anybody really thinks about it - and I would include AMD, Microsoft, HP and Oracle with your cast of characters.. Also "why marry rather than just being friends with benefits?" My answer is it's Intel corporate policy to talk rather than write, and to wink rather than talk as Mr. Orlowski pointed in "Why Intel doesn't write stuff down" (El Reg, 24th April 2003).

    Wink, wink.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think you're close. I work in IT distribution and the word this whole summer has been "HP is going to buy McAfee".

      That answers "why marry". It is possible Intel had to outbid HP. That answers the "why 60% premium?".

      Open and shut case?

  21. Jeremy P


    Mobile malware is a problem, but McAfee isn't the solution. Buying McAfee guarantees that other security vendors will build closer relationships with ARM - and time will tell whether we need a new model operating system and better security on the device or a new model for mobile e-commerce where the device is simply assumed to be compromised.

    This reminds me of the last days of the telecoms bubble, where the only thing that mattered was the size of the deal plus a powerpoint majoring on the word 'synergy.' Mcafee has been bought because it's big enough. Unfortunately it's not good enough to give Intel what it needs, and it guarantees further cooling in the Wintel alliance.

  22. LesB

    It's a cunning plan (allegedly)

    Obviously this is really part of a plan by McSplafee. They've grown bored with merely bricking machines at the OS level, having proved they can do it with ease and in huge numbers.

    So now comes the new idea: by becoming part of Intel, they can work towards bricking machines at the hardware level!

    A brilliant plan, assuming you work from the presumption that McGaffee is in fact the incarnation of Dilbert's Mordac, the preventer of Information Services. It's a great step forward for them.

    Not sure what Intel get out of it, other than getting to sell you another new motherboard every time McZapee eats your chipset....

  23. elreg subscriber

    This has to take the second prize

    Second dumbest acquisition ever (AOL Time Warner @ 164B still takes 1st prize)

    Security in hardware is actually a terriffic idea:

    * Add some barrier registers to allow compilers and Operating systems to protect regions by comparing address bus in real time to preset locations.

    * Add two more 'privilege' levels so there's some middle-ground between kernel/root and user-space (e.g. for compilers to be able to protect writing past the end of arrays)

    * Add read-only, write-only, execute-only and any combinations thereof to prevent executing in stack/heap space and the like

    * generate a hardware exception when any violation of barrier/rules occurs

    This all can be done in hardware, in real time, and for very little cost: all it takes is:

    - Some minor architecture extensions to x86

    - A few more registers, a few more comparators and some multiplexers on the core

    Implementing this right should render any malware which tries to write code into data-space and then execute it - useless. There's no need to engage in the futility of updating huge signature files on a daily basis and still miss all the zero-day exploits.

    But buying a mediocre Windows anti-virus company for 7.7B ?!

    WTF indeed.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Been there, done that

      Sounds like the VAX design, from 1978.

      What goes around, comes around.

    2. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

      no extensions required

      Re: the suggestion of cpu extensions to x86... Not even needed!

      barriers already exist for stack and such -- if implemented.

      NX (non executeable) stuff in recent cpus is all about making the stack non-executable. In addition, in linux, segmentation is used on older processors to force a fault on any attempt to execute code on the stack.

      extra security levels between kernel and user? Done. An ignored oddity of x86 is that kernel code runs at ring 0, and user code at ring 3. Ring 1 & 2 have existed since the 386.

      The problem? "backdoors". For instance, newer windows uses nx, but apps can request that it be shut off. So that's just what malware does.

  24. Fihart

    $7.68bn is just the beginning

    A year later they get a message on the screen saying the version of McAfee they've bought has just expired but they can renew by paying $7.68bn

    1. Lionel Baden


      Today is not a good day for hardware on my desk ....

      Actuallys ill just stop drinking now !!

  25. Fluffykins Silver badge

    WTF Still Stands

    "Since when was the MaCrappee product any good?", he types, sitting at a PC which slows to a crawl at frequent intervals and at which time Task Manager reports huge gobbets of processor time dedicated to aforesaid MaCrappee.

    It's at such times I need El Reg and the BOFH (assuming there's enough horsepower left to run IE, that is). I reckon a decent gobful of coffee, liberally sprayed over the processor box, would cause several pounds worth of improvement and force a replacement.

    So: WTF^2

  26. The_Police!

    Intel clippy?

    "I see you have installed an Intel CPU, and you definitely need our anti-virus solution"

    Mines the one with "Get out!"

  27. Flybert

    may it's just that

    mcaffe has the higher name recognition with the general public these days, for good or bad, than semantec / norton, avg, avast, nod32 ...

    for instance, AT&T / Yahoo DSL *offers* mcafee security suite to the point you basically have to opt out to avoid the crap ..most would likely just click the install button in the AT&T email recommending it, and it's free ..

    There are a lot of free download sites that *certify* by McAfee the downloads are virus free

    same with many web based email systems ( cPanel's Horde as I recall ) .. people see that McAfee name quite a bit these days ..

    I don't get the logic of spending $7.68 billion ..

    Has McAfee some *in* with mobile chip makers already ?

    Maybe Intel is buying tech beyond just anti-malware in this

  28. goldcd

    I'm guessing

    that the plan isn't to just shift all the McAfee software into silicon - but just enough so the McAfee software gets an advantage over the other AV vendors. I mean it's not as if they can do something on the chip that will suddenly remove the need for AV updates - and therefore a subscription from the end user.

    Retail versions could now ship with a 12 month 'CPU AV license' as well as a lovely fan/heatsink - and if after a year the user doesn't foolishly upgrade to the latest and greatest intel CPU, then they'll have the option of renewing their AV and Intel probably makes around the same profit margin on that. Now maybe the user would decide to go for a cheaper/free alternative - but I'd assume the benefits of the Intel solution will have been well plugged to them by then.

  29. Is it me?

    What price non-wintel

    Our company hosts servers for clients on just about every current O/S & chip combination possible. Paticularly AIX & Solaris, we use McAfee as standard, because it runs on everything from our PC's up.

    So if McAfee now head towards Intel only architectures, that's going to drive our costs up for non-intel, and make a less competative platform. You might also wonder what they could do to the AMD market.

    Sorrry not a fashionable view, but I like the choice of Sparc/Solaris, P/AiX, WINTEL, it at least drives competition. Would Intel have bothered with multi-core chips if Sun hadn't.

    What will happen to hardware prices and performance if Intel gains an even more dominant position, remember IBM in the 60s.

  30. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Hello again

    Arkady here.

    When I heard Intel blow wad of cash up against wall for Crapafee I had vision.

    Hardware support for "standard" (IE Crapafee internals) AV architecture with Intel charging *big* bucks to AV suppliers for API .

    This means that any flaw in architecture will be exploitable for *years*. As for cost of API and architecture manuals, well as head of largest botnet gang I'm sure someone will take credit card for data.

    As for hardware architecture with *no* exploitable flaws for AV. Well Popes, bears, sky and rain come to mind.

    I fell to knees in prayer to dark gods.

    Just after I shorted Intel big time.

    Got to go. People to see, software to get written, IP to steal.


  31. This post has been deleted by its author

  32. Raymond Wilson

    Is that an AV setting in your BIOS?

    As I am an old and gnarly user and I mainly use a Mac at home I don't need or use any AV bloatware at all, however I also own a PC. Common sense not McAfee, Symantec or any other AV subsciption has kept the Wintel part of the fleet shiny side up. Yes I do all those horrible updates from MS too, we all do, but I don't need AV!

    So.. Intel believe that they will now keep me secure at hardware level? I mean, where will this part of the security fit into the architecture? Will Intel shoehorn it into the EFI? Perhaps a new ASIC on the chipset? What will the overhead be on the system performance?

    More importantly, can I disable it or will it be anbother autocratic addition to the forthcoming features of my future x86 system/s?

    I think what worries me the most is that chipzilla are taking a leaf from Microsoft's book and enforcing crap on me that I just don't believe I need.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I think the mistake you and many others are making is that when Intel said they want to add AV to the hardware level that they were talking about personal systems.

      They are much more interested in modems and embedded systems (like the ones in cars which will be going internet ready when 4G gets implemented).

      Not very "net neutrality" probably, but imagine if your cable modem or the ISP hardware one level out from that could filter out viruses. It wouldn't matter how many times you clicked that stupid banner ad, you'd never get a virus. Kind of like ad block, but before the system level.

      Is that a good idea? Will we end up with bricked ISPs instead of bricked PCs? Who knows. If they can do it RIGHT it would be huge for the world.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Take Overs That Don't Make Sense

    As far as I can tell, take overs that make no sense normally happen to:

    - Line the pockets of the board of one company or the other

    - Line the pockets of the major institutional investors of one company or the other

    - Do nature's work - separate fools (read small investors) from their money.

    It is quite likely that Intel was under pressure from its own institutional investors to spend some of its cash pile. I'd not be too surprised if some of these institutional investors also have a stake in McAfee. If Wall Street had no small investors, it would have no easy money take.

  34. MinionZero

    Intel are playing marketing "warfare" strategies...

    Intel are going for the sell fear move, selling via pushing effectively lock in into Intel only security features and they are looking to the so far ARM dominated embedded markets which have "explosive growth potential" (actually already are starting to explode), with the billions of devices.

    Its basically what I said yesterday, (i.e.

    In their own desktop market Intel are playing a classic defensive marketing warfare strategy as this bolsters their desktop etc.. dominate position, but also as they don't dominate embedded markets they are playing a flanking marketing warfare strategy where they hope to lock in customers by fear (as they usually do) via x86 compatibility fears combined now with the new Intel only security feature fears, in doing so, it out flanks ARM to cut off their market without directly competing with ARM on performance. Intel are trying to corner and dominate the embedded market the way they dominated the desktop market. A big gamble but that's what they are playing for.

    (You can see these marketing strategies listed here)...

    (They call it warfare as it borrows market dominance tactical concepts from warfare).

    Frankly I utterly hate this Intel move. There is no way in hell Intel have got some magic fool proof hardware security feature so its all marketing spin to sell their products. Even if they have some new security feature history keeps showing someone will hack it sooner or later. So they are going to have to go for marketing spin to sell their products, which exactly what this buying McAfee move is all about.

    They won't win over technical people as they can see through these mind games, not least because they can see how poor Intel are on battery life etc... so the target audience for this business move isn't technical people, its aiming to market at the much bigger non-technical people market using emotive means.

    I'll leave the last word to the late great Bill Hicks again as he talks about exactly these marketing types in society...

  35. Shocked Jock

    Confusion reigns

    Most of the posters here seem to have overlooked the wetware issue: anybody that can justify an action by saying, "The proposed acquisition...executes against .... [whatever] strategy" is clearly not capable of reasoned exposition, and is probably under the influence of a psychotropic substance. Maybe Intel's managers are just completely confused, but feel that they need to do something - whatever it might be - to justify their inflated salaries. This kind of managerial egomania has been observed recently among publicly quoted companies that are rescued soon after by the taxpayer.

  36. h4rm0ny

    Of all the AV companies in all the world...

    ... they had to buy Macafee? This is the company that makes software that you have to download a special tool from their website to remove. After you've Googled for the answer of why it can't be removed and then searched through their website to find it hidden away, of course. Naturally thisis beyond a lot of innocent users who will then end up paying for the software licence simply because the trial expires and they have to get rid of the alarmist warnings somehow.

    What with the Dell-Intel shenanigans recently, one good thing about the merger is that it helps keep my list of Companies to Loathe nice and short.

    1. KarlTh


      That's Symantec. I can remove VirusScan with a single line of code.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like really expensive snake oil.

    This "security in silicon" shtick is a bit like trying to reduce car theft by incorporating security features into the roads, because the largest family saloon car vendor insists on shipping its cars with plastic everything, including some of the most baroque convoluted locks in the industry, that don't work to boot. People, there are better ways to do this, and golly gee there are other vendors that provide better cars that work on any old road.

    "Security is top of mind for consumers" -- no it bloody well isn't. Do you see everyone cowering in a corner trying to not touch their computer? I see people click through every ill-conceived warning. They don't know what else to do, and the warnings certainly don't tell them anything useful so nobody ever reads those after the first. So they just ignore it. That makes this too marketing drivel for snake oil.

    If this analysis told me anything it tells me this strategy has absolutely nothing to do with technical or technological merits. While it's de rigeur to over-spend on knee-jerk security measures for governments these days, I don't see what game intel thinks it's playing. Unless they're trying to one-two micros~1 with the fear game. But why bite the hand that feeds it so well? Or, since micros~1 obviously can't, did it ask intel to do the honours instead?

    1. Lionel Baden

      wondered how long

      TILL WE HAD A CAR ANALOGY ........


  38. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

    Well, there you go

    One more reason why my next PC will contain an AMD processor, just like the last two (the last Intel machine I owned had a 400MHz PII in it IIRC), and use effective, low signature AV software that doesn't cripple your system, like Avast!.

    Intel may think that they have made a clever acquisition here. As evidenced by many of the comments above, people are still saying 'WTF?'.

    An example of why I beleieve McAffe is such an awful piece of software: I have the misfortune of having McAfee installed on my PC at work, every week it slows my PC to a near-halt for half a day as it scans a mere 60 odd Gb of data for threats. Why does it take so long, when my home PC can scan a terabyte and a half, spread across several disks of varying sizes and ages, some on IDE and some on SATA, in about half an hour, using a free alternative? I fail to believe that the answer lies in hardware here, unless of course you take into account the fact that my work PC has 'Intel Inside', and my home PC does not...

  39. jdap

    Intel succumbs to a virus

    Wow. The McAfee C-level management must be pinching themselves. What a dream come true for them. What golden handcuffs they have willingly donned.

    As for Intel, why all a sudden they're a byword for security. Of course we'll be petitioning mobile device manufacturers to ditch speed+efficiency wizards ARM and rebuild their stacks on secure Intel tech.

    All that wonderful good news, with results as early as the middle of the decade? That was well worth spending a third of your accessible capital resources.

    Intel shareholders must be skipping for sheer joy at this unexpectedly exciting move. There hasn't been such a visionary move since Lotus focused all its efforts on getting 1-2-3 onto a windowing environment - OS/2 Presentation Manager.

  40. William 6

    intel + antivirus

    intel already have large investment in czech antivirus/Security company Grisoft (AVG).

  41. Magnus_Pym

    Simple really

    Anti virus degrades performance. This makes a new (read profitable) chip in a Windows machine look about the same as last year's (or the year before) cheap old chip in a Mac/Linux/anything but Windows machine.

    They can't improve on Windows apparent insecurity so they have to improve on the stuff people load up to deal with it. The only way they can do that is throw hardware at it. They haven't got any security themselves so they have to buy it.

    ergo - Intel buys McAfee.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    2015 Reg headline

    Kilocore Hexium processor withdrawn - too many false positives.

  43. zooooooom
    Thumb Up

    @Magnus, I think you have it.

    we will soon be seeing the Virus Machine eXclusion instruction set extentions, which scan the memory bus traffic for naughty signatures when you exec() shit.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real reason ?

    `Intel’s announcement that it will acquire software firm McAfee for a cool $7.68bn (£4.9bn) took the industry by surprise. However, it is now clear that the move was stimulated by aspirations to challenge British company ARM Holdings, which makes processors for the iPhone.'

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    instead of trying to bribe other companies to sell their chips they will just cripple them instead as a payback for not conforming. I can understand the HW integration of security but paying double? If i was a shareholder id be pissed as hell.

  46. Anonymous Coward

    What if it has sod all to do with Anti-Virus

    But instead Baynesian tech IP that McAfee holds?

    The announced purchase came right on the heels of

  47. OrsonX
    Thumb Down

    To resume virus scanning....

    ... please buy a new 12-month liscence.

    I was supremely annoyed when this occured to me whilst using McAfee Virus Scan. I couldn't believe that I couldn't continue to scan my PC using the virus-definitions I'd already downloaded & paid for. I felt like I was been forced to hand over the £££.

    If my software had continued to scan then I might have considered updating at a later time, as it was I went elsewhere....

  48. Ammaross Danan


    Just what I needed. My HARDWARE to remove "malicious" windows core dlls.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    If McAfee is the answer...

    Then it has to be one F'd up question!!

    Let's see, McAfee is the only AV package that I have ever used personally that has actually destroyed valid, uncorrupted data on my home PC (bye-bye email!!). And rolling it out at work has actually turned previously working laptops into high-quality doorstops. I know 2-3 people in my office that this has happened to.

    So I guess that this is Intel's play to embed planned obsolescence into their otherwise rock-solid processors? I suppose that as McAfee firmware starts destroying productivity Intel will then come in and tell people that they need to upgrade to the next generation of processors with still more McAfee skunkware on it?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    I guess nobody at Intel noticed that the embedded systems they're aiming to secure don't suffer from viruses, etc.: iPhone, Android.

    If an OS sandboxes apps in a sane way, no need to spend $7B on antivirus.


  51. ash9.5

    Godfather gets security blanket

    Nothing to do with Intel inside moble- Intel to offer protectionism to copyright providers(movies, books,music) for a fee

    The Godfather


  52. George 24
    Black Helicopters

    It does not make any sense

    It does not make any sense at all to put AV as a hardware solution, because it will not be a hardware solution in any case, it always be software that analyses code, even if it runs on dedicated chips and circuitry.

    It does not make any sense to run the "hardware" AV on Mac or Tux machines since the vast majority of malware is written for Windows.

    It does not make any sense for Intel to buy a security (term used loosely in this case) company like McAfee which is losing trust and popularity amongst IT professionals. McAfee has not produced an efficient bit of software in the past 5 years. Bloated, slow and extremely complicated to manage.

    Unfortunately, the consumer will be paying for this acquisition through higher processor prices.

    Long live ARM, long live AMD.

  53. asdf

    hmm blackmail me thinks

    McCrappy execs must have some very comprising info or picts of Intel execs. Think about this the benefits for Intel are very opaque but if you are a McCrappy shareholder this deal is like a rich uncle dying and leaving you his leer jets.

  54. asdf

    wow did Intel hire Hector Ruiz?

    What a disaster. At least with AMD/ATI you could almost see the synergy. The big problem being the merging was a disaster and put both companies a generation behind that took a few years to recover. The only good thing you can say about this purchase is at least Chipzilla still has more money than God so can absorb a few noob purchases.

  55. Handle this!

    Think Virtual Machines

    Think less time doing av scans on all those virual machines when then can use one underlying chip.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Surveillance and remote disable, no question asked.

    ""We also recently launched the Intel anti-theft technology, which will disable a computer if it's lost or stolen.""

    Or you don't like the owner. That's essentially the same thing: Surveillance and remote disable at will.

    Not of course the owners will, but Intels. Would you buy hardware which can be remotely shut down, permanently, with no question asked?

    I wouldn't.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      remote shutdown

      a feature of vista. that did well

  57. Anonymous Coward

    Nope - it still doesn't make sense, and other musings

    "We have concluded that security has now become the third pillar of computing," he told his listeners, "joining energy-efficient performance and Internet conductivity in importance."

    Anyone else spot the irony there? That's right - get your device working on the internet, and only THEN think about security. Brilliant!

    As for "embedded" use - As most (all?) of the McAfee stuff seems to be Windows-based, and Windows is probably the very worse OS you could use in an embedded environment, then it's a bit of a dead-end straight away, no?

  58. Anonymous Coward

    let me get this right

    the anti virus sees malware and shuts off the processor? cool. how do i fix it?

  59. Eduard Coli

    Telling porkies

    Who is Otellini trying play the phool.

    He wants McAffee for the patents.

    This way Intel will have a steady revenue from the lawyers as well as the chip monopoly.

    Apparently the man also believes Intel invented the microchip???

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