Leading anti-virus firm McAfee Security is to change its name to Intel Security, the chipmaker confirmed at the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday.
Intel, which acquired the security firm for $7.68 billion in 2010, announced the news at the world's largest consumer electronics show during CEO Brian Krzanich's keynote speech.
"Intel's intent is to intensify our efforts dedicated to making the digital world more secure, and staying ahead of threats to private information on mobile and wearable devices," said Krzanich at the annual show, which takes place in Las Vegas.
McAfee customers need not worry however; the software and the iconic red McAfee shield logo remain the same with just the name changing to Intel Security. There's even some good news in that some mobile versions of the software will be free to use to iOS and Android users. McAfee will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, and senior management will stay in their current roles.
The rebranding is expected to take up a year to complete and isn't overly surprising in light of the recent activities of John McAfee, the eccentric founder and chief executive of the anti-virus firm.
McAfee, who founded the company in 1987 before leaving in 1994, spent a year on the run and was at one point wanted for murder in Belize, something he strongly denies. He also posted a video on how to “uninstall” the anti-virus software – which showed him firing a bullet at a laptop. In more recent times, McAfee reportedly claimed he was working on technology that would make the Internet unhackable.
Speaking shortly after Intel's announcement, McAfee told the BBC – with more than a hint of sarcasm – that he was “everlastingly grateful to Intel” for freeing him from “this terrible association with the worst software on the planet.”
In an official statement, Intel said that the name change “reflects the value of the Intel brand and its brand attributes such as trust, innovation and performance. The firm added that it also signalled the chipmaker's desire to become the “definitive leader in security”.
However, 451 Research analyst Adrian Sanabria told SCMagazineUK.com that there was a simpler explanation for the change
“There is one reason, and one reason only to spend millions to ditch a household brand worth millions by itself: John McAfee's recent infamy,” said Sanabria.
“They can deny it all they want, but there isn't a single other good reason to change it but to disassociate from the original founder's recent ‘adventures'.”
The analyst though did suggest that Intel could integrate McAfee technology “deeper into the folds at hardware/firmware levels”.
Dave Marcus, chief architect of advanced research and threat intelligence at the McAfee Federal Advanced Programs Group, is happy with the new name and told SCMagazineUK.com that it makes sense in light of the two companies' growing collaboration.
“I love the new name,” said Marcus. “It speaks to how tightly we have integrated the companies as well as the technologies, like DeepDefender, we have developed together.
“I think the reaction and impact will be positive as the new branding speaks to our long term commitment to developing solutions together.”
Meanwhile, in related news, Intel also plans to launch the new Intel Device Protection app later this year, which is primarily designed to help people protect data when using Android phones and tablets in the workplace.