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Intel Businesses EU Security Hardware

EU Approves Intel's McAfee Purchase After Interoperability Pledge 68

Posted by Soulskill
from the viruses-and-lag-inside dept.
An anonymous reader tips news that the European Union has given their approval for Intel's purchase of McAfee for $7.7 billion after the chipmaker promised it wouldn't try to stifle competition for other security programs running on Intel hardware or McAfee software running on rival hardware. "Under the agreement, Intel committed to providing other security vendors with the technology needed to tap the same functionality in its processors and chipsets available to McAfee. In addition, Intel pledged to continue having McAfee software support the products of rival chipmakers, which would include Advanced Micro Devices. The European Commission will monitor Intel for compliance. 'The commitments submitted by Intel strike the right balance, as they allow preserving both competition and the beneficial effects of the merger,' Joaquin Almunia, commission VP in charge of competition policy, said in a statement. 'These changes will ensure that vigorous competition is maintained and that consumers get the best result in terms of price, choice, and quality of the IT security products.'"
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EU Approves Intel's McAfee Purchase After Interoperability Pledge

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  • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday January 28, 2011 @04:10PM (#35037018) Journal

    Too bad our existing agencies have sold out!

  • well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2011 @04:14PM (#35037072)

    well, as long as they *promise*

    did anyone check if they had their fingers crossed behind their back? did they pinky-swear?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2011 @04:22PM (#35037168)

    Intel could decide it'll be cheaper to break the pledge and pay a fine rather than uphold it.

  • Re:well... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) <lajollahomeless@hotmail.com> on Friday January 28, 2011 @04:24PM (#35037190) Homepage Journal

    Completely.

    So when the virus scan begins to become part of the hardware, and the hardware routines get optimized to the point where the OS begins to favor hardware (like who would choose software 3D over hardware 3D in today's gaming world?), then software AV becomes, more or less, obsolete.

    Embrace. Extend. Extinguish. Is that how it went?

  • by Beerdood (1451859) on Friday January 28, 2011 @04:44PM (#35037448)
    Is anyone else shocked that mcafee is worth this much, or somehow got 7.7 billion dollars? Wow.. As a company they're only focused on one product (anti-virus software) that's bloated, not free (like many equally useful alternatives, i.e. windows essential, avg, avast, malwarebytes, many more..). How could they be valued so high?
  • McAfee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 56ker (566853) on Friday January 28, 2011 @04:44PM (#35037450) Homepage Journal
    I've been called out many times to clients complaining of slow computers. The reason they're slow is bloatware software like McAfee or Norton has been installed. These companies just prey on the gullible, then milk their victims yearly with extortionate amounts for yearly virus definition updates. I've lost track of the times people have called saying their computer is suffering from a virus, when it isn't and it's a hardware related fault. The media unfortunately help companies like McAfee spread so much fear about viruses that some consumers are frightened into buying their product. There are free options out there, many of which don't have such deleterious effects on computer performance and don't pop up with nagging messages each time the user wants to do something simple.
  • Re:well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Grishnakh (216268) on Friday January 28, 2011 @05:53PM (#35038316)

    The thing is, there's no such thing as "hardware 3D", not like, for instance, hardware MP3 decoders exist (which can only decode MP3s and nothing else).

    What you call "hardware 3D" is really software 3D, but using a different type of microprocessor which is optimized for doing certain types of mathematical operations in parallel. Back in the "old days", this CPU used to be called a "vector processor". Now it's called a "GPU", but it's pretty close to the same thing except it also has some video-specific stuff also built in for talking to the monitor.

    Take a look at the size of the drivers for a 3D card; they're huge, for a device driver. That's because they're doing a fair bit of work in converting 3D function calls and setting up algorithms to be offloaded and performed on the GPU. The GPU isn't stuck with doing only 3D graphics, or any particular 3D graphics standard (like the MP3 decoder in the above example), it can even be repurposed to perform general-purpose math operations, and return the results to the CPU. You could probably even decode MP3s with a GPU, though the overhead involved and the speed of today's CPUs mean there probably wouldn't be a performance benefit to just doing on the CPU as usual.

    The problem with optimizing hardware too closely to a particular problem or standard is that there's no flexibility when things change, or the standard is updated, or a bug is fixed, etc. With MP3 decoders, it doesn't really matter because that standard is ancient and not changing, so it's set in stone, but it also means you can't use them for any newer standards like Ogg Vorbis, WMA, AAC, etc., whereas a more general-purpose processor optimized for the type of math routines performed by ALL these codecs would be able to be reprogrammed for any of them, or any new ones. This is basically what GPUs do.

    Now, it is possible that Intel could build in some unit into their CPUs that is optimized for doing some operation needed by virus scanners (but still being general-purpose enough to be usable by all virus scanners, for all targeted malware types). I'm not sure what that would be, however; looking for certain "bad" sequences of opcodes, perhaps?

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