Franz S. Hinner
Senior Product Manager
Worry Free Business Security Services
178 Brushy Creek Trail, Hutto TX 78634
Office: +1 (408) 634-0623 | Mobile: +1 (512) 436-0723
Fax: +1 (512) 857-0489 | Skype: fhinner
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To my mind the key message here is one that our sales folks across the globe should be grabbing with both hands and embracing.
Go and talk to all the McAfee customers you know, ask them how well the message of marrying security to hardware resonates in a world that is increasingly virtualising, remind them about LANdesk and then offer them a license buyback.
Trend Micro is now the biggest pure play security vendor on the planet. Let's make sure people know that.
Sent from my mobile, excuse fingers.
On 19 Aug 2010, at 16:41, "Edgardo Diaz (AV-US)" <email@example.com> wrote:
[Thinking out loud]
So whatâs the possible effect to trend? Or better yet trendâs possible move?
Will cisco acquire trend? Or google acquire trend? Or ibm acquire trend? hehehe
Intel-McAfee: Horseless Carriage Vendor Buys Buggy-Whips
This morning Intel announced plans to buy security vendor McAfee for $7.7 billion, valuing the company at a 60% premium over their market cap as of closing-time yesterday. The valuation is about 5 times the last trailing four quartersâ revenues, which is about typical for M&A deals in the security industry, and it suggests that both parties negotiated well. The price is not so high that it makes Intel look like Daddy Warbucks, but not so low that it looks like McAfee was desperate to sell.
But of course âa not so high priceâ is all relative. Nearly $8 billion is a lot of money. What on earth does Intel expect to get for all of the money it is spending on McAfee? Iâve been scratching my head over this, and despite McAfee CTO's George Kurtzâ helpful blog post, I am still struggling to figure this one out. Letâs look at some of the stated rationales for the deal:
Â· Intel wants in on the mobile market. According to the coverage of the deal in Bloomberg, the McAfee acquisition is about mobility. Raymond James analyst Hans Mosesmann argues that â[Intelâs] ability to be successful in the non-PC market, and even in the PC market, is going to depend more on system solutions, and security is becoming a really big deal.â Intel apparently agrees, telling the BBC that âtodayâs security approach did not fully address the billions of new internet-ready devices, including mobile and wireless devices, TVs, cars, medical devices and cash machines.â
Â· Security wants to be embedded in silicon. George Kurtz argues that the threat landscape has become so deadly that hardware-based solutions are needed: âGiven the current challenges in dealing with the proliferation of virulent malware, bringing software closer to silicon will provide a real advantage for consumers and businesses. Beating back the tide of malware proliferation by changing the game on the bad guys is an exciting proposition.â
Â· Intel moves closer to becoming a systems supplier, not just a chipmaker. New York Times reporter Ashlee Vance notes that âIntel builds a variety of security functions directly into its chips and has offered its customers ways to tap into the tools. The McAfee technology would sit a couple layers above Intelâs existing technology and perform a much wider array of functions.â
These arguments have their merits. Everyone agrees that mobility is huge, and that the Post-PC market will eventually eclipse todayâs PC market. Indeed, Forrester data shows that the crossover point is this year. Intel knows this, so it wants to plant a flag in the mobile security space it believes will be necessary to protect these new devices. Moreover, I can understand why Intel feels it ought to be baking more capabilities into silicon: it helps differentiate its chips against rivals AMD and ARM (via its licensees). Adding more functionality to core offerings as a way to entice buyers to upgrade to their platform is a classic strategy that Intel's acquisition target (McAfee) has been perfecting for years with its desktop anti-malware suite. That product started as a humble virus scanner. Today it includes anti-spyware, a host firewall, data leak prevention, host intrusion prevention and much more. What McAfee has done on the desktop, Intel intends to do âinside,â on its silicon.
But I see four problems with Intelâs strategy (at least as much as I can glean, so far):
Â· Neither Intel nor McAfee are serious players in the mobility market, and this deal doesnât improve their prospects. In the mobile market, Intel has had its lunch eaten by ARM Holdings, a company whose energy-effiicient designs have underpinned the chips of choice on mobile devices like Apples iPad. And for McAfee, it has recently acquired two mobile security companies â" Trust Digital and TenCube. McAfeeâs also (earlier) bought SolidCore for the embedded market, a move that looks savvy in hindsight. But speaking charitably, neither of these most recent two acquisitions will be (as the equity analysts like to put it) âaccretive to earnings or revenuesâ in the short to medium term. That is to say, mobile security wonât be much more than a few percentage points of McAfeeâs overall revenues. McAfee deserves credit for thinking outside the PC box, but its execution in this area is, at best, in the early stages.
Â· Intelâs hardware platform strategy will not work. Most enterprises take the least-common-denominator approach to managing their computing assets. This is largely because refresh cycles cause hardware platforms stick around much longer than software-based ones: it is easier to push down a software update than to pull a motherboard. I am not convinced that a hardware-based strategy for security will resonate with enterprise buyers. If you need convincing, ask yourself: how many of the PCs in your organization run Intel vPro-capable hardware? Don't know the answer? Right: this is exactly my point. Despite Intelâs efforts to add more differentiating âprofessionalâ features on and around their core processor silicon, these are seen as a bonus, rather than the centerpiece of enterprise management strategies. It is hard to see how âMcAfee Insideâ would work out any differently.
Â· Intel doesnât understand software. Perhaps the most troubling part of the McAfee deal is the prospect that they will mismanage their new division into irrelevance. Intelâs track record with deals further up the stack are patchy at best. In 2005, Intel bought Sarvega, a hardware-and-software play in the XML processing segment. Today, it is irrelevant. In 1991, Intel bought LANDesk as the centerpiece of its DMTF strategy. Remember what DMTF stood for? (No penalty for not remembering: it stands for Desktop Management Task Force.) LANDesk was sold at the height of the dot-com boom, and it has been bought, spun off or sold three times again. Now Intel wants to get back in the software game again. Again, how will this be any different?
Â· The security aftermarket will be very different on Post-PC devices. PC devices, and by this I mean those running Windows, have long needed third-party security vendors to help secure the platform. Early versions of Windows, and even current ones, were not designed with security in mind. Even though Windows 7 is much improved compared to Windows XP, 95 or 2000, the core OS is still based on the Win32 foundation, a twenty-year-old legacy that was designed to run on âeverything.â Contrast that with the highly sandboxed, compartmentalized, digitally signed âappsâ model of the BlackBerry OS and Appleâs iOS. With these two operating systems, you donât need on-board anti-virus, or HIPS, or anything else â" and if you do, it is because Apple or RIM have screwed up. Both of these vendors are taking responsibility for their platforms in totality in ways that Microsoft never did, or could have. Neither iOS or BlackBerry OS depend in any way on hardware capabilities Intel or anybody else could bring to the table, other than the root-of-trust embedded in the handset; all of the security differentiation is is in the OS. And that, frankly, is where it belongs.
All of which leads me to conclude that while Intelâs stated rationales for doing the McAfee deal are very forward-looking, its likely actual revenues are mostly about the past. If Intel wants to grow the franchise for protecting PC platforms, the McAfee deal is a great acquisition. But if you view todayâs security aftermarket as something that ought to be better left in the ashbin of history, where security is baked into operating systems, this deal is more of a head-scratcher. In this light, Intelâs purchase of McAfee is a lot like a horseless-carriage vendor buying a leading supplier of buggy-whips.
What does this mean for Forrester customers? Given the risks associated with this deal, enterprise customers should be wary of making long-term commitments to McAfee until Intelâs intentions are more clear. It would be best if McAfee was left to manage itself, largely as a stand-alone company. That said, Forrester has spoken to many McAfee customers in the last several months that have been upset with McAfeeâs handling of the DAT file problem from April, which caused widespread service outages. We expect that customers that have already been angling to jump ship will use this deal as an excuse to accelerate those plans.
From: Greg Jensen (MKT-US)
Sent: Friday, August 20, 2010 12:30:44 AM
To: Franz Hinner (MKT-US)
Cc: Rik Ferguson (SOS-EMEA); Edgardo Diaz (AV-US); Juan Castro (SAL-LA);
Subject: Re: NEWSBANK :: Intel-McAfee: Horseless Carriage Vendor Buys Buggy-Whips [FORRESTER]
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On Aug 19, 2010, at 11:28 AM, "Franz Hinner (MKT-US)" <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Totally agree, first of all Intel does not have a stellar track record of making this kind of stuff work (especially software). The other question really is do you really want to be locked into a one vendor solution? In the case of security, where folks accept primary and secondary defense layers I would think that this is a huge distraction in their sales cycle.