Krans notes that the deal would make Trend Micro the only true pure play security vendor among the biggest players, eliminating one of McAfee's current differentiators vs. Symantec, which also sells storage and systems management tools and has been in the process of better focusing its security offerings. (Interestingly, Intel sold its antivirus business to Symantec in 1998.)
Symantec holds just over 20% of the security software market worldwide, and while that's not bad, it's actually down from the 24.11% share it had in 2007 and the company recently warned of cautiousness among tech buyers. The company's stock price rose following the announcement of the Intel-McAfee deal, with speculation Symantec itself might be the next security company to find a suitor.
"The competitive landscape for us is changing," says Bill Robbins, Symantec executive vice president of worldwide sales, discussing the overall market prior to the Intel-McAfee announcement.
Symantec just spent many millions of dollars to buy PGP, GuardianEdge and VeriSign's authentication business to get encryption and certificate technologies. (Trend Micro will soon be unveiling some encryption-related plans as well.)
Such diversification isn't a bad idea, since selling security to the enterprise is increasingly a matter of having lots of different enticements to offer the customer--sometimes a giveaway in a bundled offering. "I've seen deals where the encryption is free," noted Gartner analyst Neil McDonald discussing the topic recently.
Though fellow Gartner analyst Firstbrook isn't quite sure how some of McAfee's products, including firewalls and secure Web and e-mail gateways, will fit into Intel's long-term plans. He also questions how the companies' cultures will mesh, describing Intel's as staid and McAfee's as more aggressive in that it is used to reacting quickly to the latest cyberthreat.
McAfee's big push of late has been security for smartphones, including the iPhone and Android-based devices, whether in the hands of the consumer or the business person.
To that end, McAfee recently acquired mobile-device management vendor Trust Digital, used in the enterprise, and Singapore-based tenCube in the consumer area. Symantec's approach so far has been to develop software in-house, including its Mobile Management product introduced last November, according to Khoi Nguyen, group product manager in Symantec's mobile security group.