Sunday, December 06, 2015

McAfee Going Away as a Brand?

Will 2016 by the  year that the McAfee brand will disappear from the public consciousness, or as a SKU, anyway?  If so, it will be the end of an era that began with McAfee’s founding in 1987. 

About McAfee

Wikipedia has published  a history of McAfee. Some of the below has not made it into that history (or was edited out).

At one point in time, during its growth phase, McAfee actively sold off firms that it did not see as being among the top three in their niche.  One of their sales (when they had the Network Associates name), was the data encryption company PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) which they had originally acquired in 1997, to  some of the founders of PGP. This was probably a whoops. In  2010, Symantec purchased this company, the same year Intel acquired McAfee.

To encourage use of their desktop product, McAfee aggressively gave away trial versions (remember CD’s?) of their endpoint product, causing some of their competitors to refer to the company as “McAfree”.

In the late 1990's, Trend Micro sued McAfee (and ultimately other, for patent infringement) "We are not just in it for the royalty," said Trend Micro's general counsel Bob Lowe. "Our main goal is having the products be prevented from being sold."  Nonetheless, the suit ended with a cross-licensing agreement.

The “rumor mill” had it that one McAfee executive used to keep a firearm in his desk.

In April 2003, after purchasing Intrusion Prevention company Intruvert for $100M, the company’s repositioned itself on its website as an intrusion prevention company. In fact, Barron’s in 2005 referred to McAfee as a leader in intrusion prevention  

On January 4, 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit against McAfee for overstating its 1998–2000 net revenue by $622 million. Without admitting any wrongdoing, McAfee simultaneously settled the complaint, and agreed to pay a $50 million penalty and rework its accounting practices.  

Several executives left McAfee in the mid 2000’s in part because of an investigation related to back dating of options. The execs were exonerated.  The  CEO resigned at this time, for other reasons, and, went outside the company for a new CEO.

On August 19, 2010, Intel announced that it would buy McAfee for $48 a share in a deal valued at $7.68 billion. There was some push back from the European Union as they felt this deal would give Intel an unfair advantage in desktop security,  but the deal did go through.

On January 6, 2014, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced during the Consumer Electronics Show the name change from McAfee Security to Intel Security.  He stated that the McAfee red shield logo would remain and the firm would continue to operate as a wholly owned Intel subsidiary.

On the consumer side over the years, McAfee has been battling Symantec on the paid front. Market share? Around 12th in the October OPSWAT market share report. Mixed results in AV-Comparatives testing. They haven't been tested by Virus Bulletin in several years. 

Jumping Forward to 2015

October 28, 1915- Search Cloud Security - Intel Pulls Plug on McAfee SaaS Security Products

Intel Security will stop selling McAfee SaaS Endpoint and SaaS Email Protection and Archiving. Although new sales will stop in 2016. Existing customers can continue renewing their subscription and receiving support until Jan. 11, 2019, Intel Security said in its notices. Depending on certain subscription types, limited support will be available for some services until 2021.

October 29 - 2015 Channelnomics - McAfee  Brand Will Stay for Now

McAfee as a brand still holds a lot of equity for Intel Security, Lisa Matherly, and Intel VP of worldwide partner programs, marketing & operations, told Channelnomics at Intel Security's Focus 15 event in Las Vegas. 

"There is a lot of equity in the McAfee brand and there is some association with security with the Intel brand, but not as strong as the McAfee brand," Matherly pointed out. "So that's really what we're trying to do - bridge that and introduce the Intel security brand, start associating the security there, but also leverage what we have in the McAfee brand for the product portfolio. She added that the future of the McAfee brand is uncertain now and will be driven by the market.

November 5, 2015 - Intel Security Confirms Divestiture of McAfee NGFW, Firewall Enterprise Businesses in Memo to Partners 

In a memo to partners, Intel Security confirmed its divestiture of its McAfee Next-Generation Firewall and McAfee Firewall Enterprise businesses to Raytheon/Websense

So, pieces are being sold. Other pieces are being end of lifed. Other pieces are being retained though the word "McAfee" appears to be going away. 

Other Firms to the Rescue

 Since these announcements,  Mimecast and Sophos have leapt to the rescue, offering special pricing for users of some McAfee products.

Mimecast - You need a new solution offering both similar features and a smooth migration path – without worrying about a financial burden.

Sophos Promo - We Can Help Today. McAfee retired its email security and archiving products, and now you are scrambling to find an alternative. However, we have good news. Sophos’ solutions will help you turn an annoying replacement project into an upgrade opportunity. And we can do it right now.

Hold, hold onto those McAfee CD’s, tee shirts, and trade show giveaways. It may be the end of an era but they may be worth something on eBay.

One question (beyond the scope of this piece), is whether Intel should have even purchased McAfee in 2010  years ago? They are keeping some of the components. At the time (and even currently) large companies are purchasing jumping onto the security bandwagon to strengthen their security offerings or get into the business.
Also beyond the scope of this piece is any discussion of John McAfee, McAfee’s founder,  who filed to run for president in early September!

Another discussion - worthy of it's own post, will be the future of desktop/endpoint security since pundits' views on this cross the spectrum as to the solution's viability.

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