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BearShare, Grokster Joins McAfee P2P Push

Anti-virus specialist McAfee.com has added two more popular peer-to-peer networks to its big customer retention push.

McAfee has inked separate deals with Free Peers, Inc.-owned BearShare and Grokster to dangle freebie anti-virus software to file-sharing fans and eventually convert those into paying customers.

The latest deals comes just days after McAfee found prime placement within the popular Morpheus and Blubster P2P networks.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based McAfee said the plan is to lure new customers by giving away the SecurityCenter software, which combines a free set of online security tools with access to McAfee.com's paid managed security products.

McAfee did not say how many of the newbies it expected to convert to paying customers but there are bold predictions the SecurityCenter software would be installed in more that one million PCs during the third quarter this year.

Financial terms of the deals were not released.

Since the recent launch of the new BearShare 4.0 P2P client, McAfee claims the SecurityCenter has been downloaded on more than 60,000 desktop computers. The client upgrade has a new "Security" button within the user interface that provides instant access to McAfee's offerings every time a BearShare users logs into the network.

McAfee said SecurityCenter was available free of charge to BearShare users with Windows 9x, ME, 2000, or XP operating systems.

In the deal with Grokster, file-sharing fans are being enticed with SecurityCenter during the Grokster program installation process.

McAfee VP of marketing Atri Chatterjee said the decision to use P2P networks as for mass distribution of its services was a no-brainer. "As the popularity of P2P file-sharing grows, the risk of an Internet threat such as a virus spreading to millions of unprotected users also increases," Chatterjee said.