Graham Titterington, principal analyst, Ovum
AUSTRALIA: The active involvement of a company with the influence and resources of Intel in the information security arena will have a major impact on the future of computing
McAfee's products extend beyond IT security into governance and aspects of systems management, and so this acquisition will increase Intel's exposure to the CxO level executives in the world's largest organisations.
Many major IT vendors have been buying IT security vendors for several years, such as IBM, HP, Microsoft, and EMC. The difference is that Intel is thought of as a hardware vendor enjoying a near monopoly in its core markets (although it is also a large software supplier as well). We can assume that Intel's objective is to incorporate more security features into its chips.
For users, and for businesses, this will be welcome, but clearly there is a risk of monopolistic concerns damaging the market. The situation brings echoes of what we saw in 2002 when Microsoft, in conjunction with Intel, proposed a secure computing platform under the auspices of the Trusted Computing Platform Alliance, and Microsoft's Palladium project.
Competitive concerns largely stifled this vision which got scaled back to some encryption features that we see today in Windows 7. Effective security has to work at the platform, network, and business levels and a secure chip cannot address all of these by itself.