INSIDE MOBILE: Why Intel's Acquisition of McAfee Is Important for Mobile

Intel announced its acquisition of McAfee last week. This could be significant for the mobile market, as mobile security is becoming more important to both enterprise customers and consumers. Here, Knowledge Center mobile and wireless analyst J. Gerry Purdy discusses the significance of Intel's acquisition of McAfee for the increasingly competitive wireless handheld market.


You have to hand it to firms such as Intel and Microsoft. When they are determined to succeed in a new market, they try and try again-and if that doesn't work, then they go out and buy their way into the market. Last week, Intel announced the acquisition of McAfee, a successful security software company, for $7.68 billion. This acquisition may play an important part in Intel's plans to become a major player in the wireless handheld market-something that they haven't yet been able to achieve despite a lot of effort.

This is the second in what is likely a series of actions Intel is making to become a major player in wireless handhelds. The first strategic announcement was made on February 15th of this year at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. At that time, Intel and Nokia announced that they would work together to support a new Linux-based operating system called MeeGo (which merges Intel's prior Moblin efforts with Nokia's Maemo). An earlier announcement by Nokia suggested that it intended to possibly use Intel's processors in some future Nokia mobile devices.

If Intel was going to acquire a security software company, why didn't they acquire Symantec, clearly the market leader? That might have made sense but it would definitely have been a lot more expensive. And, since Intel plans to embed much of McAfee's security software into future processor chip offerings, Intel likely took the lower cost route to the same destination.

The reason that the McAfee acquisition makes sense for Intel in the wireless handheld market is simply because security is going to become more and more important to both enterprise customers and consumers.