Tuesday, January 11, 2005

McAfee Research sold to Sparta, Inc.

In a press release today, McAfee, Inc. announced a definitive agreement to transfer the assets, people, and contracts of McAfee Research to Sparta, Inc., which issued its own press release.

The group is transfering intact, so there should be little short-term impact on lab members, such as me. (I am slated to become Chief Scientist of the Information Systems Security Operation within the National Security Systems Sector.Org Chart) We expect to continue doing contract research, mostly for our existing government customers. My new office location will probably be somewhere nearby in Silicon Valley.

I believe that in the medium term this is a win for all parties:
    McAfee never managed to gain strategic advantage from having a research lab. It's announced target for all lines of business is a 25% operating margin; there is no (legal) way to earn this doing government contracting.

    Sparta is an employee-owned company whose primary business is government contracting; they have done very well in that business. Not being publicly traded, they are able to take a somewhat longer-term view than is currently permitted by Wall Street.

    McAfee Research will bring a complementary set of skills, contracts, and relationships to Sparta in an area where they intend to grow their business: computer and network security.
Stay tuned.



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