Antivirus trailblazer John McAfee is on the run from authorities in Belize who are seeking him in connection with the murder of a neighbor. Although McAfee has been away from the tech world for a long time and no longer has anything to do with the company he founded, there are concerns that the emerging lurid details of his life and possible crime could taint the company that still bears his name.
John McAfee, founder of the eponymous antivirus software company, is wanted in Belize in connection with the murder of American Gregory Faull, according to news accounts. The San Pedro police department is said to be actively searching for McAfee, who has gone missing.
This episode is focusing a very public spotlight on the downward, highly destructive spiral McAfee reportedly has been on for years — a cycle that is said to include drugs, guns, prostitution and a lot of violence. His early days as a tech luminary — he was one of the first people to design antivirus software and to create a virus scanner — are clearly long gone, never to reemerge.
The McAfee Brand
It is fair to wonder how these events — now making international headlines — will impact the McAfee corporate brand.
On one hand, it is hard to imagine how they could have any impact. Though he founded the company, John McAfee has long been divorced from it, noted Scott Testa, director of development forChina Project Hope and a former marketing professor at Cabrini College.
“In an odd way, it could wind up even having some positives for the product line,” Testa told the E-Commerce Times. “After all, what do they say? ‘ There’s no such thing as bad publicity.'”
The events could wind up evoking feelings of familiarity with the McAfee brand among consumers, even after this drama recedes into the background, he suggested.
“I really don’t think there will be negative ramifications from a brand perspective,” Testa said, although “you can bet that Intel will do whatever it has to to disassociate itself from what is happening.”
A name change could be in the company’s future.