Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich casually told attendees in his keynote address at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday the chip giant will remove notorious founder John McAfee’s name from its security products and replace it with the moniker Intel Security.
Intel (INTC) chief executive Brian Krzanich casually told attendees in his keynote address at the Computer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas Jan. 6 the chip giant will remove notorious founder John McAfee’s name from its security products and replace it with the moniker Intel Security.
In a nod to the iconic McAfee red shield logo, Intel plans to retain it on its product packaging. The security unit will continue to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary, Intel said.
John McAfee, who sold the company in 1994, has had nothing to do with it since. But some have speculated Intel was eager to disassociate itself from him, worried that his erratic behavior and antics may have negatively affected consumers’ perception of the brand.
Indeed, as a case in point, McAfee himself seemed pleased at Intel’s move, telling the BBC: “I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet. These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users. My elation at Intel’s decision is beyond words.” (Side note: Despite those words from Mr. McAfee, Intel's security business and channel engagements have enjoyed healthy growth and backing for years.)
Intel recently hinted at some branding modifications when Penny Baldwin, McAfee chief marketing officer, told Adweek that changes were coming in “packaging and names.”
The rebranding will take place immediately, but the transitioning may take up to a year to complete, as the company rolls out new products. If Intel plans for the McAfee name to slowly slip away over time, giving way to Intel Security as products are phased out, a year might not be long enough.
One key change among the rebranding is that Intel will offer parts of the security suite for mobile devices free of charge, including solutions for Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and iPad, and Google (GOOG) Android-based smartphones and tablets.
"Intel is bringing its award-winning mobile security to every mobile device, phones, tablets, wearables," Krzanich said.
As often happens with these sorts of announcements, Intel was a bit short on details, deferring to disclosing more information on its security plans in the coming months.
Still, Gavin Struthers, Intel worldwide channel operations senior vice president offered some clues, including its importance for channel partners.
"The unveiling of the Intel Security brand is the next step in making security an essential part of the compute stack—not something purchased later and bolted on," he wrote in a blog post.
"Security must be embedded on every architecture and every computing platform. ... If we are going to enable our customers to take advantage of pervasive technologies, security must move from being a bunch of point products to a unified, integrated and connected approach," he said.
Speaking directly to Intel's channel partners, Struthers wrote, "Our Security Connected platform puts us years ahead of the competition in this race to integrate and the formation of Intel Security will only further strengthen your value proposition."
Unlike his predecessors at Intel’s helm, Krzanich used his CES keynote to assert the chip maker will play a prominent position in the mobile revolution, not confining itself to smartphones, tablets and wearable devices but also playing in a wide variety of other settings.
Not only did Krzanich showcase Intel technology for smart watches, along with 3D cameras, printers and tablets, he also demoed Intel’s Edison chip, a tiny chip with pathways for devices using it to connect to Wi-Fi networks or other gizmos.
"We want to make everything smart," he said. "With Edison, the opportunities, we believe, are endless."
Intel is offering $1.3 million in prizes for ideas for wearable computers based on the Edison technology.