Intel’s announced acquisition of McAfee is not a one-off opportunistic deal. It is part of a larger strategy to enhance Intel’s security capabilities as it follows other recent acquisitions of tenCube and Trust Digital. The goal is to collect and develop IP that can go directly to silicon and bring security down to the hardware level. The embedded security will run outside the OS with a broad variety of software developer hooks. It is highly unlikely that that Intel will make any of these proprietary or in any way specific to McAfee.
Bringing security down to the hardware level is particularly critical at a time when exploits at the OS level are getting more sophisticated on PCs and mobile OSs are still highly immature in the security arena. This move particularly enhances Intel’s mobility strategy by adding security as a differentiator as the company girds up to combat the incumbents in the smartphone, ATM, appliance and embedded processor markets.
McAfee is to be run as wholly owned subsidiary reporting through the Software and Services Group to Renee James. In addition, McAfee’s 80% margins will complement rather than dilute Intel’s margins.