After more than a quarter of a century, the iconic McAfee security brand is to be phased out this year, with the launch of the new Intel Security brand, which will cover all the firm’s security products and services.
In his keynote at CES in Las Vegas, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced that nearly four years after Intel bought McAfee for over $7bn, Intel would transition its products across to the Intel Security brand during 2014.
Krzanich revealed plans to offer elements of McAfee’s mobile security solutions for free across Android and IOS devices, and launch Intel Device Protection technology for consumer and corporate Intel-based Android mobile devices.
"The complexity of keeping digital identities safe grows as mobile applications and devices become a more important part of our daily lives," Krzanich said. "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."
One-time NASA programmer John McAfee founded the eponymous company in 1987, and although his involvement with the firm ended in 1994 he remained involved in the industry via a number of messaging and security companies.
In 2012 he made global headlines after going on the run in central America following allegations of involvement in a murder case, and some market watchers have been quick to characterise the rebrand as a not-too subtle means of distancing Intel from McAfee, who once described his products as “annoying” and earlier today told the BBC he was "everlastingly grateful" to Intel for freeing him from association with "the worst software on the planet".
Understood to now be living in the north-western US, McAfee’s Wikipedia page claims he is now working on a comic book format autobiography.
One identifiable element of McAfee’s business will, however, remain, in the shape of the familiar red shield logo.
Wearables, supply chain compliance also on Intel agenda
Krzanich also used his CES keynote to set out Intel’s agenda for 2014, revealing a glimpse of how the industry giant sees technology developing in the coming months.
In common with many others, Intel plans to go big on wearable devices, and among the innovations Krzanich showed off were smart earbuds that provide biometric and fitness information, headsets that integrate with existing personal assistant technologies, and a smart wireless changing bowl.
He also announced collaborations with several organisations, including New York department store Barneys, to develop and market wearable technologies and foster collaboration with the fashion industry.
In addition, Krzanich announced a new Quark technology-based computer housed in an SD card form factor, Intel Edison, which has been designed to enable innovation and product development by inventors, entrepreneurs and consumer product designers, which will launch later this year.
Finally, he discussed how Intel is addressing issues around conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) making their way into the IT supply chain, saying Intel had now achieved a critical milestone and was prepared to confirm that all the minerals used in microprocessor silicon and packages manufactured in Intel's factories are "conflict-free" as concluded by third-party audits or direct validation by Intel's supply chain.
"We felt an obligation to implement changes in our supply chain to ensure that our business and our products were not inadvertently funding human atrocities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Even though we have reached this milestone, it is just a start. We will continue our audits and resolve issues that are found,” said Krzanich.