John McAfee says glad Intel dropping his name from security software

BOSTON Tue Jan 7, 2014 1:57pm EST

BOSTON Jan 7 (Reuters) - John McAfee, the flamboyant millionaire who founded the eponymous anti-virus software pioneer that Intel Corp bought for $7.7 billion, says he is glad that the chipmaker plans to drop his name from the product.

Intel Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced the decision to abandon the McAfee name late on Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, saying the company plans to transition those products to the "Intel Security" brand.

"I've been begging them to drop the brand or fix the product," McAfee said in a telephone interview on Tuesday. He did not speculate on a reason for the move, which was not completely unexpected.

Last June, McAfee appeared in a profanity-laced video attacking the quality of the software produced by the company he founded in the late 1980s. He said he frequently gets emails from customers who complain that it degrades the performance of their computers and is difficult to remove.

"While we take any attack on our products seriously, these ludicrous statements have no basis in reality," company spokesman Ian Bain said at the time.

A company spokesman said on Tuesday he could not immediately comment on the branding move.

But executives with the security company have privately said they worry that the eccentric McAfee could harm the reputation of the firm, best known for the anti-virus software it sells to consumers and businesses.

Questions about Intel's plans for keeping the McAfee brand arose in late 2012, when John McAfee generated a media frenzy as he went into hiding, then fled the Central American nation of Belize after police sought to question him about a murder case. He said he was framed for a murder he did not commit.

Then in his video attacking the software, the millionaire fires a gun into a computer. He was undressed and pawed by a group of young women.

McAfee said he did it all to mock the media's unfair portrayal of him as unhinged.

"I am who I am. I'm sorry I live on the edge and enjoy life and don't care what people think of me," he said on Tuesday, when asked how he felt about Intel dumping his name. "I'm sorry that the software has my name."

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