Intel to Acquire McAfee for $7.68 Billion, Could Certainly Use the Cash

What does Intel, the chip-maker, have to do with PC security? We’ll see. In a surprising move, the company announced today that it plans to buy the security firm McAfee for $7.68 billion.

In a statement, Intel CEO Paul Otellini suggested that the proliferation of mobile devices, not to mention time spent online, means consumers will expect a more robust security experience. However, it’s unclear why Intel chose to be responsible for that part of the consumer experience; after all, it’s usually OEMs, such as HP that insist on controlling the end-to-end experience. Some pundits have floated the idea that security could one day be built into a chip, although Intel hasn’t revealed any such plans.

It’s also interesting that Intel chose McAfee, in particular. In our latest security suite roundup, McAfee Total Protection 2010 garnered the lowest rating, thanks to low scores from independent security evaluators and a lackluster user interface. Also, when McAfee failed to update its definitions to block a virus this spring, an unknown number of corporate XP machines were affected, including, ironically, some owned by Intel.

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