Intel to quit the security business (again), and jettison McAfee?

A long time ago, Intel used to have its own anti-virus product. They called it Intel LanDesk Virus Protect.

Intel LanDesk Virus Protect got gobbled up by Symantec in 1998, and most of us thought that the chip giant had quit the security business.

Fast forward 12 years to 2010 and Intel surprised us all by acquiring Symantec’s arch-rival McAfee for over $7.6 billion, hoping that the hot security market would help its growth plans.

Intel, the world’s leading CPU producer, claimed that the price they paid for McAfee was a good one, as they would redefine the security industry – integrating protection into microprocessors.

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Let’s be honest – that never seemed a terribly convincing plan, and came to nothing.

Six years later, and the Financial Times is reporting that Intel may be planning to quit the anti-virus business again:

Intel is looking at options for Intel Security, including potentially selling the antivirus software maker formerly known as McAfee which it bought for $7.7bn almost six years ago.

The Silicon Valley chipmaker has been talking to bankers about the future of its cyber security unit in a deal that would be one of the largest in the sector, according to people close to the discussions.

The news comes two years after Intel rebranded its security division Intel Security, for umm… quite easy-to-understand reasons.

Leave it another 12 years, and who knows if Intel will be tempted to buy into the computer security business again?

I guess if they do they’ll be hoping it’s a case of third time lucky.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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