US gives thumbs up to Intel buying McAfee

While antitrust watchdogs snuffle around the hindquarters of Intel’s plan to buy security outfit McAfee, the US regulators have given the deal the thumbs up.

The US.Federal Trade Commission cleared the Intel $7.68 billion deal which could be sorted out next year if the EU agrees. The EU doesn’t seem to want to agree, however, as we reported earlier this week.

In mid-October, Chipzilla said the transaction could close as early as the end of 2010 or in the first quarter of 2011.

Now with the EU asking Intel’s rivals what they think of the cunning plan, it looks like it will take until the first half of next year.

The chip maker said on its website it is continuing to work with the European Commission on its review.

Baird analyst Tristan Gerra told the Wall Street Journal that it was expected that the FTC would do what it was told.

Intel has done a good job of explaining to the regulators why it wanted to buy a security company and how the deal would fit in the industry.

Intel, in August, said it would be buying McAfee to help it expand beyond providing chips for personal computers. The company also said the acquisition would allow it to build security into computer chips and other hardware, making products more resistant to attack.

While Intel is certain that everything will work out, the European Union’s antitrust regulator is a little worried that Intel will come up with some cunning plan that will shut down others in the security industry by forcing its chips to only respond well to McAfee software.

But Intel cannot be that evil, or at least that stupid. After the EU slapped a huge anti-trust fine on Chipzilla, the regulators have been watching the outfit like a hawk.