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"Network Associates is NOT for Sale," Says Chairman & CEO
"Network Associates is NOT for Sale," Says Chairman & CEO

One man, at least, is adamant that yesterday's swirling rumors that the McAfee anti-virus and security product line might end up in new hands - namely those of Microsoft - are false. Since the man in question is the chairman and chief executive officer of Network Associates, owners of that line, the industry has reason to listen.

In a company-wide e-mail which has found its way into the hands of the popular UK site, The Register, the CEO in question, George Samenuk writes:

"Many of you have seen the article in Computer Reseller News (CRN) which says that Network Associates is being acquired by Microsoft. There is no truth to this rumor...Sometimes, stories like this one take on a life of their own. You may hear slants, spins and variations, but the bottom line is the same, it's just not true."

The Register believes that the rumors are fairly easy to explain, in that "Network Associates is under pressure from investors to improve operating margin to 25 per cent by the middle of next year. This has led to rumours that it is planning big layoffs on 1 July."

Yesterday veteran industry commentator Maureen O'Gara noted that: "If true, the acquisition would put Microsoft in competition with Symantec, Computer Associates, and Trend Micro."

"In the last couple of weeks," O'Gara continued, "in the wake of an extreme spike in nasty virus activity, Microsoft security chief Mike Nash raised the specter of Microsoft fielding its own virus product in a widely quoted dinner speech. Nash indicated that Microsoft would break with tradition and not bundle the anti-virus technology with the Windows operating system."

Her interpretation was as follows:

"When one thinks about it, such a sudden change in policy would make a certain amount of sense if Microsoft were planning to buy an existing franchise. At least as much sense as it would to imagine that Microsoft had finally gotten religion and had started taking seriously objections to its bundling practices like those of the European Commission to the Windows Media Player being in Windows."

Despite the leaked e-mail from Samenuk, Microsoft has still not commented - in keeping with the longtime Redmond tradition where acquisition rumors are concerned. 

About Security News Desk
SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.

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