When it comes to security software, few products have the name recognition of the McAfee products. That strong brand was one of the main reasons Intel (INTC) decided to purchase the company in 2011 for around $7.6 billion.
Unfortunately, that brand has probably been damaged somewhat recently. The company’s founder, John McAfee, has been in the news a lot lately, but not for good reasons.
Back in April, McAfee's compound in Belize was raided by police under suspicion that he was running a meth lab. Police swarmed his house on the morning of May 4, and yanked him out of the bed he was sharing with a 17-year old woman, naked, and hauled him off to jail. There was no meth lab discovered, but he was arrested for possession of a firearm. One of his 11 dogs was apparently shot and killed during the raid for attacking an officer.
Nothing seemed to come from the meth lab, so it appeared as though McAfee was clear of the bad press. Then another incident, even more serious, took place on November 1. McAfee’s neighbor was found shot dead, and McAfee become a person of interest in the case.
He eventually went on the lam, and has been on the run since November 11. His time on the run has now come to an end, as he was arrested trying to enter Guatemala. He is trying to get asylum in Guatemala, where he claims they have “excellent coffee”, insisting that his life would be in jeopardy if he were forced to return to Belize to face murder charges.
Yes, everyone should be considered innocent until proven guilty, but things are not looking good for McAfee. Four days before his neighbor’s death, someone poisoned four of McAfee’s dogs, which he eventually shot and buried in order to put them out of their misery. Ironically, his neighbor was known to have made a formal complaint to authorities about McAfee’s dogs, so it seems like he may have been the one who poisoned McAfee's dogs. There are many questions that surround the situation. Could the neighbor's murder have been revenge? Police have exhumed the bodies of the dogs. Will police find that the bullets used to kill the dogs were the same as the ones that were used to kill the neighbor?
As the drama continues to unfold, Intel is going to face a big decision. Should it continue to market McAfee products under the McAfee name, or should it distance itself from the name and lose its strong brand presence?
What are your thoughts?
Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va. His articles typically cover big-picture events and forecasting what impact they will have on the stock market. In addition to writing for Fresh Brewed Media, Michael also wrote for AOL's BloggingStocks for three years, focusing most of his attention on the energy and technology sectors.