Symantec's intended purchase of Intel's LANDesk anti-virus business is the latest in a rapid sequence of consolidation manoeuvres in the sector that is likely to make the straight choice between Network Associates and Symantec as the most obvious route for enterprises.
The takeover of the Intel unit for an undisclosed sum follows just months after Symantec's capture of IBM's anti-virus division and deadly rival NA's purchase of the UK's Dr Solomon's Software. Although Intel has never been central to the anti-virus marketplace it has an 18,000-strong user base and many very significant contracts in enterprises that use its LANDesk network management tools. As a sideline to the deal, Symantec will use Intel systems management technology to help add IBM's 'Digital Immune System' to automate virus detection and cure.
As with the Symantec-IBM deal, Intel will recommend Symantec to anti-virus customers while Symantec takes over support and upgrade promotions for the Intel LANDesk Virus Protect user base.
Perhaps more interesting than the effect on the anti-virus market, however, is the news that Symantec will build its own technology into a new anti-virus product that has been under development at Intel. The chip maker has been very keen to push its theme of 'constant computing' as a reason for PC buyers to switch its fastest processors. Selling its anti-virus software to an acknowledged market leader may be a smart way to promote its vision of the benefits of constant background anti-virus scanning, one of the most often-cited examples Intel has offered of how constant computing helps users.