Intel eyed McAfee for years, Gelsinger says

The company long considered McAfee or Symantec acquisitions to leverage CPUs in security

Intel considered acquiring either Symantec or McAfee for years before it announced last week that it would buy the latter, former Intel senior vice president Pat Gelsinger said on Thursday.

Gelsinger, now president and chief operating officer of Information Infrastructure Products at EMC, said he was surprised by the timing of the McAfee deal but not by its logic.

"We had looked at security and security deals for a long time ... with the basic thesis of securing the base platform," Gelsinger told reporters after a presentation in San Francisco on Thursday. Gelsinger joined EMC about a year ago after 30 years at Intel, where he rose to senior vice president and co-general manager of the company's Digital Enterprise group.

Security requires building a "root of trust" across all parts of a system to establish that someone is who they represent themselves to be, Gelsinger said. It's impossible to trust the operating system, drivers, firmware or BIOS of a PC or server because all those can be hacked, he said. Recent security incidents have proved that antivirus software and firewalls "don't work," leading to a demand for deeper security, Gelsinger said. "You come to the simple answer that silicon-based root of trust is important."

"This idea of being able to provide base-level platform silicon-connected security is a very, very rational position for Intel to take," Gelsinger said.

Intel's planned acquisition of McAfee might hurt RSA, the security subsidiary of EMC, but only in small ways, because RSA's products are largely complementary to those of McAfee, he said. Intel has told EMC since the deal was announced that it expects to partner even more effectively with RSA now, according to Gelsinger. At the RSA 2010 conference in March, the companies demonstrated a "chain of trust" that included an Intel CPU, VMware software, RSA authentication management software and a security console from Archer Technologies, which was acquired by EMC in January, he said.

Gelsinger has mixed feelings about the acquisition battle between Dell and Hewlett-Packard for 3Par. HP made the latest move on Thursday, raising its offer to US$27 per share, or about $1.8 billion. Gelsinger said 3Par is "dramatically overvalued," because it sells only high-end, block-based enterprise storage equipment. The scarcity of alternative acquisition targets is driving its price up, he said.

Gelsinger believes HP would be better positioned to use 3Par to compete against EMC, because it already has a strong presence in large enterprises. Dell, on the other hand, has an extensive OEM (original equipment manufacturer) partnership with EMC that covers products from EMC's Clariion, Celerra, Symmetrix and Data Domain product lines. EMC is devoted to its relationship with Dell, he said.

"I'd sort of prefer if they didn't add this to the complexity of the mix, but whether they do or not, we're going to be great partners with them," Gelsinger said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags business issuesDell3PARmcafeestoragesecurityintelHewlett-Packardemc

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?