In case you missed it, Intel has bought McAfee, a security company best known for virus scanning and other malware detection software, for $7.68Bn (on revenues of about $2Bn). This is a tidy multiple in any marketplace, particularly as McAfee is not the dominant player. It is the largest deal Intel has ever done, and the largest pure-play security deal ever. Plus the deal was in cash.
Add to this the Intel plan to purchase the Wireless Solution unit of Infineon (for $1.4Bn) and you now have the direction in which Intel plans to go. More Security in the hardware.
The technical rationale behind the deal seems to be that security should be going into hardware, and that in newer cloud access devices (Android, iPad etc) it wont’ be a bolt-on extra like it is at the moment, it’ll be something that OEMs could buy from Intel. The same argument applies to the clouds themselves. Servers would come with embedded security. We’ve been discussing this stack/hardware boundary a little at the virtualization practice – it features on our recent podcast, Virtual Thoughts: Is the Hypervisor moving into Hardware?. However, our perception had been that the stack/hardware boundary was being driven by the VCE coalition (VMware, Cisco, EMC) and potentially by HP and even Dell, but not by the semiconductor manufacturers.