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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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  • The US needs an EU-type agency to monitor our corporations and make sure they don't abuse the citizens, or monopoly power.

    • by TaoPhoenix (980487) <TaoPhoenix@yahoo.com> on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:10PM (#35037018) Journal

      Too bad our existing agencies have sold out!

    • This could be McAfee's only way to beat norton. Think about optimizing mcafee for intel chips. It wouldn't be hard to outperform norton- but I've never slated mcafee as a contender until now perhaps..
      • (and not the other way around, as stipulated, any optimizations to the chip itself needs to be shared)
      • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:28PM (#35037260) Journal
        You underestimate the potential for evil here: UEFI, baby.

        Your A/V could be a runtime service baked right into your motherboard, hooking its dirty little fingers into assorted peripherals and memory spaces all below the OS level. Progress!
        • by TheEyes (1686556)

          You underestimate the potential for evil here: UEFI, baby.

          Your A/V could be a runtime service baked right into your motherboard, hooking its dirty little fingers into assorted peripherals and memory spaces all below the OS level. Progress!

          Indeed. Thank God I can still buy AMD, though if Bulldozer doesn't bring them back into competitiveness in the server arena they might not be around much longer...

        • Wow, thanks. I might have nightmares tonight.

          The new McAfee Consumer Product Removal tool, now with BIOS flashing utility included!

    • by JustOK (667959)

      Yah, too bad that in the US, there's no union of states like that...

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by jazman_777 (44742)
      The EU is an abuse of its citizens. That's why people are calling it the EUSSR.
    • by Carewolf (581105)

      You are probably being ironic, but the US do have such an agency7system, and the US laws on the area are even stronger than the EU, but since Microsoft was forced to split and the ruling was overruled by president Bush Junior, it has not actually done anything worth noticing.

      • I seriously doubt you have any or detailed knowledge of US and/or European (EU) competition law. If anything your claim that US law is "stronger" in that area is seems based upon your nationalist bias. Where is your evidence? In reality most of these frameworks are now harmonized by agreements and conventions usually from forums under the UN or the WTO.

        If any anecdotal evidence is admissible I hereby claim that the US lack of action after the conviction of Microsoft shows that the US law is weaker in that a

  • So, I guess Intel may be working on embedding AV into their chips, or am I way behind here?
    • Re:Embedded AV? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:33PM (#35037310) Journal
      The logical assumption, as best I can tell, is that this will be showing up in Intel's Active Management Technology [intel.com]... in one form or another. Intel has been iterating this "AMT" for a while now, to provide various capabilities that things like PXE cannot, as a value-add to upsell corporate customers who would otherwise buy cheaper chips. There may also be some sort of blasphemous convergence with Intel's UEFI and hardware virtualization, to move AV right into the hardware, where the waste is harder to see and the competition finds it harder to dislodge...
      • A product which industry sees as 'essential' with Intel branding on it will come in very handy when it comes to selling PCs with Intel Inside to pointy haired bosses. Remember, many PHBs still worry whether or not AMD chips will be 100% compatible with Windows.

        I don't see any advantage in 'embedding AV' into Intel chips (whatever that would mean) but Intel might add a couple of instructions just for marketing reasons so they can claim 'hardware accelerated AV' or some such junk.

      • Have you seen AMT? The explanation is a mess.

        In general, Intel does nothing well except produce chipsets and processors.

        Is Intel CEO Otellini a competent manager? Should he be replaced?

        Intel bought what??? A third rate anti-virus company that makes a product that is necessary only because having vulnerabilities makes more money for Microsoft? (The average person cannot fix an infected computer and buys a new computer with another copy of Windows. See the New York Times article: Corrupted PC's Find [nytimes.com]
        • Why did Sun pay so much for MySQL? Branding. They didn't monetarize, but branding has value, especially in the Wintel market. Also, competent programmers still need to be paid for effectively reinventing the wheel. Not to mention the patent portfolio that may be required regardless of who implemented the relevant algorithms.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      McAfee's crapware already comes pre-installed on any PC you buy. Embedding it in hardware seems like the logical next step.

  • well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    well, as long as they *promise*

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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      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 Nadaka (224565)

        considering that av software needs constant updates to remain competitive? I don't think they can go the full hardware optimized route.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Grishnakh (216268)

        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 st

    • by hedwards (940851)
      That was my thought. In the US the DoJ often times allows mergers to go through after being promised that the merger won't end up being anti-competitive. Typically within a year the firm is violating the promise it made and the DoJ doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it.

      I'd like to see legislation enacted that all those promises be made in writing and that they be enforceable in court by anybody with something to lose by the agreement being violated.
  • by Anonymous Coward

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

  • by Beerdood (1451859) on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:44PM (#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?
    • by ronocdh (906309) on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:51PM (#35037558)

      How could they be valued so high?

      Never underestimate how rich one can become by catering to users' ignorance. But yes, I agree: I'm shocked, too!

    • McAfee has dozens of products, many of which are first in their class. Ever heard of EPO? McAfee is everywhere in the corporate world and Risk and Compliance Software is really taking off.

    • by BitZtream (692029)

      Because it comes preinstalled on millions of computers year and has recurring revenue due to its subscription model?

      Its worth money due to shear volume, the recurring revenue from the uneducated who don't realize they're getting shafted by 'renewing' it instead of getting some software that doesn't suck means they have a very large potential for incoming even if they aren't making a fortune right this instant.

    • The corporate world is where the $$ is at and McAfee has a huge presence there. They offer just about everything along the computer security spectrum - firewall, endpoint protection, whole disk encryption, NAC, IPS, comliance services, blah, blah, on and on. I'm not saying they are the best, but they are big.
      • by thsths (31372)

        > I'm not saying they are the best, but they are big.

        Just like the McAfee virus scanner, then. It uses 300 MB of RAM if things are going well, but it frequently balloons upwards of 1 GB, sometimes even running out of address space and crashing. This problem is known since around 2008, and it is amazing that McAfee was not able (or willing?) to fix it in the mean time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Only people that are not familiar with any of their service offerings or other products. Have a look at their business products page. http://www.mcafee.com/us/products-solutions.aspx [mcafee.com]

    • by hedwards (940851)
      I'm wagering that the purchase has to do with the IP that McAfee has. Intel, as far as I know, doesn't have much in the way of R&D in that area. Having those researchers would likely allow them to develop accelerators and such that are useful for anti-virus scanners. They could do it now it just would be a lot more expensive than having the researchers and patents in house. I'm guessing this is more aimed at the enterprise market where they want to integrate that functionality in for servers allowing th
    • not free .... How could they be valued so high?

      You say those like they're contradicting somehow.

      They're valued highly because in a world of plenty of free alternatives, they've figured out a way to market a paid product. I don't care for their product either, but it's clearly worth something to people with money. In practical terms, that means they're good at corporate support, or their salespeople give good head. Either way they have something of value.

  • McAfee (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 56ker (566853) on Friday January 28, 2011 @03:44PM (#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.
    • +1 Insightful

      My troll: Companies like Intel/Microsoft need viruses just the like food industry needs pests and countries need 'enemies' - it's one hand washing the other in a State of Fear. For fear of viruses the PC needs AV vaccination that will slow down hardware/software, so that hardware makers are pressed to produce even more powerful hardware to compensate for the AV-caused drag and thus provide the illusion of progress. In the meantime, attacks get more evolved and sophisticated, so AVs get more blo

    • by timbo234 (833667)

      My parents did the same thing, and I think even the word 'gullible' is a bit harsh. For people who don't know much about computers they thought they were doing the right thing, after all McAfee and Symantec are big companies with what should be polished commercial products advertised in the media and available in many stores. How were they to know that really these products are bloated and overkill for what they do and that better products are available for free?

      Last time I was at home I solved the problem

  • Given the track record of McAfee and some other AV vendors for releasing signature files that falsely detect and remove crucial system files I am not looking forward to any embedded functions.

  • because what I say may not be what I will do
  • Let's not forget the time that McAfee completely destroyed countless windows computers by mistaking a system file for a virus. Would you pay 7.7 billion for a company that does something like that?
  • Would Intel purchase such a shitty company.
    • by AHuxley (892839)
      1. If all the mainstream AV on Intel running software makes Intel hardware feel slow, people might look for a different 'brand' and it will feel more snappy for a while.
      If Intel can have a go at funding a more responsive AV by running it on a low cpu setting, deep in the background for longer and pausing for games, Intel hardware can feel snappy. A nice PR bounce about been "safe" and "fast" on the next generation of cpu ect..
      2. The Feds get http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Lantern_(software) [wikipedia.org] in many m
  • McAfee also owns Foundstone, who brought us the great Attacker, FPort, SuperScan, and other tools to facilitate and protect against hacking!
    • by noctrl (452600)

      what? soh, how come i never heard of them?

      This purchase makes NO sense from a technical view, but neither did NT4..

  • My toilet came with a Goldman Sachs investor. But I still use Charles Schwab.

  • Does McAfee actually scan for viruses anymore? I thought it just popped up annoying messages bothering me to give them more money to keep my computer "protected."

If it's worth hacking on well, it's worth hacking on for money.

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