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McAfee.com to shift 1m units on P2P piggyback

Blubster joins Morpheus

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

McAfee.com Corp reckons it can grow its user base by over one million in the course of the current quarter, after striking deals with two major peer-to-peer file-trading software developers,

Kevin Murphy writes

. The company said its recently launched SecurityCenter application will ship with Blubster and Morpheus clients, which are in use by tens of millions of consumers.

SecurityCenter is McAfee.com's free threat-assessment application, a loss leader that entices users to sign up for the company's subscription-based antivirus, firewall and spam filtering services. The company did not say how high it expects its conversion rates to be with the new channels, and spokespeople were not available for comment.

Blubster is a Spanish-language Napster-alike that allows a current three million consumers to swap music files, owned by Madrid-based OptiSoft SL. Morpheus, created by StreamCast Networks Inc of Franklin, Tennessee, allows more types of files to be traded, and has been downloaded about 100 million times, according to the company.

There is a real need for antivirus software when you're running a P2P file swapping application. In addition to existing file infectors, there are worms specifically designed to spread over P2P networks. The Gspot.exe worm, discovered last year, tailored itself to appear to be whatever the user was searching for on the Gnutella network.

McAfee.com CEO Srivats Sampath said in a statement: "We view the file-sharing community, and especially Morpheus, as an important market moving forward as these networks become more popular and file sharing simultaneously becomes more dangerous."

The SecurityCenter network itself is marketed by McAfee.com as a "grid" service, a buzzword cousin of "P2P". Each instance of SecurityCenter is designed to be a node in a network of millions of machines that exchange data with a central database that tracks ongoing attacks and virus outbreaks in real-time.

The deals are the latest in a string of good news from McAfee.com in recent months. The company will also distribute its software with the next versions of America Online Inc's services and Microsoft Corp's MSN. The company expects to triple the number of paying subscribers by the end of next year.

© ComputerWire

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