Why Intel Bought McAfee

By Alexis C. Madrigal

Last week, Intel announced plans to purchase McAfee for $7.7 billion. Many people wondered exactly why a company that's nominally a chipmaker would purchase a software security outfit. Ars Technica's Jon Stokes has a sober and thorough answer to that question.

In the end, the McAfee move isn't some triple bank shot, where Intel is trying to out-security ARM in the mobile space, or whatever else the pundits have dreamed up to explain the purchase. No, it's pretty much what Intel's press release says it is: Intel wants to be (and feels that it needs to be) in the security business, period. The company thinks that they can do security better than a software vendor alone could, and they believe this because they know that security is about systems--not just hardware or software, but services, practices, policies, and user experiences and expectations.

And to make secure systems happen, Intel has to get closer to the user and to have a more pervasive part in more aspects of the user experience than it can as a parts provider. McAfee gives Intel that missing consumer-facing piece, and that's why they're buying the company at such a large premium.

Read the full story at Ars Technica.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/08/why-intel-bought-mcafee/61911/