Network Associates changes name back to McAfee

McAfee is McAfee once again. After a seven-year stint doing business under the name Network Associates Inc., the company formerly known as McAfee Associates Inc. has readopted its founder’s name and will be known as McAfee Inc., effective Wednesday.

The name change was adopted to reflect the changes the company has experienced over the past year as it divested itself of major portions of its business, said Raj Dhingra, senior vice-president of corporate and product marketing.

“It basically reflects the transformation of McAfee becoming a pure-play security company,” said Dhingra. “In the past the Network Associates name had been associated with a broad range of products…we found that there was a higher association with our security products and the McAfee brand name.”

McAfee has sold off two major components of its business since the beginning of this year. In February it sold its Magic help desk software division to BMC Software Inc. In April it announced the sale of its Sniffer network management software to the investment firms Silver Lake Partners LP and Texas Pacific Group.

At that time, the company announced its intention to reassume the McAfee name, which amounts to a full circle in its branding strategy. Until 1997, Network Associates was called McAfee Associates Inc.

It dropped McAfee as a company name following the acquisition of network management vendor Network General Corp. but never completely abandoned the McAfee name. It spun out a subsidiary called Inc. in 1999 and continued to sell security software under the McAfee brand.

McAfee isn’t the only software company to have reversed direction after dropping a popular name during the dot-com boom. In 1998, development tool vendor Borland International Corp. switched its name to Inprise Corp. That decision was reversed just two years later.

McAfee originally took its name from company founder John McAfee, who started the software company in 1989.

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