Former McAfee logo with the Intel byline.
The company was founded in 1987 as McAfee Associates, named for its founder John McAfee, who resigned from the company in 1994. McAfee was incorporated in the state of Delaware in 1992. Network Associates was formed in 1997 as a merger of McAfee Associates, Network General, PGP Corporation and Helix Software.
The company restructured in 2004, beginning with the sale of its Magic Solutions business to Remedy, a subsidiary of BMC Software early in the year. In mid-2004, the company sold the Sniffer Technologies business to a venture capital backed firm named Network General (the same name as the original owner of Sniffer Technologies), and changed its name back to McAfee to reflect its focus on security-related technologies.
Among other companies bought and sold by McAfee is Trusted Information Systems, which developed the Firewall Toolkit, the free software foundation for the commercial Gauntlet Firewall, which was later sold to Secure Computing Corporation.
McAfee, as a result of brief ownership of TIS Labs/NAI Labs/Network Associates Laboratories/McAfee Research, was highly influential in the world of open-source software, as that organization produced portions of the Linux, FreeBSD, and Darwin operating systems, and developed portions of the BIND name server software and SNMP version 3.
McAfee had acquired Calgary, Alberta, Canada-based FSA Corporation, which helped the company diversify its security offerings away from just client-based antivirus software by bringing on board its own network and desktop encryption technologies.
The FSA team also oversaw the creation of a number of other technologies that were leading edge at the time, including firewall, file encryption, and public key infrastructure product lines. While those product lines had their own individual successes including PowerBroker (written by Dean Huxley and Dan Freedman and now sold by BeyondTrust), the growth of antivirus ware always outpaced the growth of the other security product lines. It is fair to say that McAfee remains best known for its anti-virus and anti-spam products.
Acquisition by Intel and spin-off
On August 19, 2010, Intel announced that it would purchase McAfee for $48 a share in a deal valued at $7.68 billion.
On January 6, 2014, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced during the Consumer Electronics Show the name change from McAfee Security to Intel Security. The company's red shield logo would remain, with the firm continuing to operate as a wholly owned Intel subsidiary. John McAfee, who no longer has any involvement in the company, expressed his pleasure at his name no longer being associated with the software. "I am now everlastingly grateful to Intel for freeing me from this terrible association with the worst software on the planet. These are not my words, but the words of millions of irate users." However, as of 2016 the products still bore the McAfee name.
The company was spun back out of Intel on April 4, 2017.