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Dave DeWalt’s next big challenge: make Intel-McAfee marriage fruitful

Aug 20, 2010 | USA Today – Technology Live

The 60% share-price premium McAfee CEO Dave DeWalt got Intel to pay to acquire McAfee doubled the share-price premium DeWalt garnered the last time he flipped a mid-sized tech company to a giant corporation.

In 2003, DeWalt, then CEO of Documentum, sold the content management firm to EMC, for $1.9 billion, at a share price that translated into a 29% premium, says Daniel Ives, tech industry analyst at FBR Capital Markets.

“Dave DeWalt has the magic touch, in regards to building an organization that shows growth, and also highlighting its potential,” says Ives. “This is the second time he’s done it.”

DeWalt’s new boss, Renee James, Intel’s senior vice president of software and services, has assigned him to run McAfee pretty much as is: fast-growing, highly-profitable, wholly-owned subsidiary.

In a Technology Live interview, James declined to give much detail about longer range plans to infuse McAfee’s security expertise into Intel’s struggling Atom chip for Internet-connected mobile devices. “It’s true in mobile solutions that we will have more enhanced security hardware,” said James. “It is an accurate assumption that in the mobile devices market we will be doing integration into the chip.”

Exactly what security features Intel embeds into its Atom chip — and whether a robust market emerges for a security-enhanced mobile-devices chip — remain to be seen.

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