McAfee CEO Ready to Take on Microsoft

George Samenuk, chairman and CEO of McAfee Inc., says he isn't losing any sleep over Microsoft Corp.'s impending unveiling of Windows Live OneCare, a set of software and services designed to protect computers from viruses and other malware. Samenuk said the recently released beta of Falcon, McAfee's next major software release, offers features that Microsoft and rival Symantec Corp. can't yet match. He discussed the Microsoft plan in a recent interview with the IDG News Service.

George Samenuk

George Samenuk How is McAfee responding to increased competition from Microsoft? Competition is always good for the customer in any industry. When we look at Microsoft entering the security space, it will be good for all of the competitors because it will make us better. Do I worry about Microsoft? Yes. But I worry more about protecting customers. Having fully integrated product lines will be the differentiating factor for McAfee. Certainly, some unaware consumers may go with Microsoft. Two weeks ago, Microsoft announced 20 new vulnerabilities in one day. I'm not sure corporations and governments are going to trust Microsoft with their security when they have these new vulnerabilities announced every month.

Will Microsoft have a tough time entering the security business? You have to ask them that. Security is a very competitive marketplace. You've got to deliver high-quality products every day to protect customers.

Does McAfee have a strategy for extending corporate success to the consumer market? Our challenge is to take those corporate and government customers that are using McAfee today and get them to use McAfee for their home computers.

How has switching the company's name from Network Associates to McAfee two years ago affected the business? When McAfee first started, it was known as McAfee. Then they switched the name -- stupidly -- to Network Associates. Now, finally, I changed it back to McAfee. We have 90 million people that know McAfee on a global basis. We're rebuilding the brand through using the name McAfee with all of our products. That's really helped our business over the last couple of years.

Lemon is a reporter for the IDG News Service.


Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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