The completion of the acquisition may be delayed further to the first half of 2011
The European Union’s antitrust regulator has expressed concerns on the Intel‘s $7.68b deal to buy security software provider McAfee, with European officials keeping a close eye on the high-profile transaction.
People familiar to the matter were quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying that the regulator during its preliminary review of the deal said that it could submit the deal to a lengthy examination on these concerns.
Intel’s stated desire to incorporate security features into its widely used microprocessor chips has been the key focus of the European review, which indicated that if McAfee, by virtue of being owned by Intel, had privileged access to those features, it could be difficult for McAfee’s rivals to compete.
The European Commission has sent multiple questionnaires soliciting opinions about the deal from other security-software companies, following the Intel’s notification about the deal in late November.
The questions focus, among other things, on how Intel could embed security functions into its chips and whether any of them could be reserved to work only with McAfee software, according to one questionnaire reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
According to the document, the questionnaire also asks whether Intel could use McAfee technology to determine which applications are allowed to run on its microprocessors.
It further asks that whether Intel could use a feature called a "sleeper agent" to launch promotional pop-ups for McAfee software, or reserve maximum chip performance for McAfee software at the expense of software from competitors.
Intel vice president of investor relations Kevin Sellers was quoted by WSJ as saying that they believe the combination of Intel and McAfee will prove important in achieving breakthrough innovations in security.
According to Sellers, the company expects the deal to close some time in the first half of 2011. However, the company earlier in mid-October said that deal was expected to close at end of 2010 or in the first quarter of 2011.
Executives from Intel said the acquisition could aid company’s push to move its chips beyond computers and into products such as cellphones and Internet-connected TVs.