Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

U.S. Regulators Approve Intel's Perplexing Acquisition of McAfee

The Federal Trade Commission today approved a $7.7 billion deal by Intel, the world’s largest maker of computer chips, to acquire McAfee, the security software maker.

The deal, which once approved would amount to the largest deal in Intel’s history, still faces scrutiny by the European Union’s antitrust regulators, who have expressed concerns. This is of course the group that handed down the largest antitrust fine in its history against Intel. An appeal by Intel against that fine is pending.

I still find this combination a little confusing. I certainly see the need for Intel to grow its business beyond its core of providing the world’s personal computers and servers with microprocessors, and to add security features to future chips. But making chips is what it does best, and history has shown that when Intel deviates from what it does best it often regrets it later.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik