The European Commission has approved Intel's acquisition of McAfee, but the chip giant has had to make concessions to interoperability to alleviate concerns over competitiveness.
The Commission confirmed today that the $7.68bn (£4.8bn) deal has been given conditional clearance under the EU Merger Regulation. As part of the decision, Intel has signed up to a number of commitments to ensure the deal does not marginalise McAfee's competitors.
The chip maker has committed to ensuring its products are interoperable with security technology from other vendors. Intel has agreed not to withhold relevant information on the functionality of its CPUs and chipsets with McAfee's rivals. It has also promised not to impede the effectiveness of McAfee solutions when running on non-Intel CPUs and chipsets.
Joaquin Almunia, the Commission's vice president in charge of competition policy, said: "The commitments submitted by Intel strike the right balance, as they allow preserving both competition and the beneficial effects of the merger. These changes will ensure that vigorous competition is maintained and that consumers get the best result in terms of price, choice and quality of the IT security products."
But Pat Clawson, chief executive of end point security vendor Lumension, claimed the possibility of Intel bundling security functionality onto its chips still presented pressing concerns. He questioned whether such a move was socially acceptable.
"Whilst it might make sense in the consumer mobility space, governments and enterprises will surely want to make their own security decisions, not have it forced on them at the chip level," explained Clawson.
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