McAfee Gains Distribution Heft via Facebook

| About: McAfee Inc. (MFE)
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McAfee (MFE) is gaining access to Facebook’s 350 million users in a distribution pact that could pay off nicely for the security company.

On the surface, the Facebook-McAfee announcement is all about protecting users from spam and malware (statement). But it’s hard to not notice the business implications. McAfee gets access to Facebook’s base. And Facebook shows how it could cut future software deals.

Under the partnership, McAfee will be the exclusive provider of security software. Facebook users will be eligible for a six-month subscription to McAfee’s security suite. After six-months, Facebook users can get discount pricing.

Facebook isn’t collecting revenue from user subscriptions—this time. But the model is there. Facebook can introduce software vendors to 350 million users. Who wouldn’t want to distribute netbooks, PC, software or any other product to those Facebook folks?

For McAfee all it needs is just a portion of Facebook’s user base to become long-term subscribers to get some serious returns on its partnership. McAfee is in a security as a service dogfight with multiple vendors, but Symantec is the biggest rival.

Jennifer Leggio notes that the McAfee deal is short on the education, but Facebook is working to clean up the site.

Clearly, Facebook and McAfee are taking social networking security seriously. However, it’s hard not to notice the business implications of these partnerships.