Intel's acquisition of McAfee, the security-software company, might turn out to be a smart deal for $7.7 billion. Its acquisition of the wireless business of Infineon, a German maker of chips for smartphones and laptops, looks like a more compelling deal. Intel has to get on board the mobile-computing bandwagon, and the Infineon deal, announced this morning, will help it do it. Desktops aren't dead, but they aren't the sweet spot of the growth stats, either.
The McAfee buy could turn out well. Cyber-security is another hot piece of the info-tech business and will certainly continue to grow. And Intel intends to weave McAfee into its mobile strategy, aiming the security solutions toward mobile users. But Intel is a semiconductor hardware company at its heart. Privacy and anti-virus programs are not a central part of its mission. Intel has been buying software operations with products that it claims "take advantage of silicon." It'll be interesting to see how it bridges the hardware-software divide, which still very much exists from a marketing and manufacturing standpoint.