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Anti-Virus Software Inside Intel

Intel Capital, the venture arm of the chip giant, is branching into anti-virus security with a $16 million investment in Grisoft, based in the Czech Republic. The purchase is Intel Capital's largest equity investment to date in Central and Eastern Europe.

Although virtually unknown in the U.S., Grisoft's products are used on more than than 25 million computers worldwide, according to the company. Its software supports all major operating systems and platforms and is distributed through resellers and through the Internet. Intel Capital plans to help Grisoft to reach new customers and market segments as well as optimize their security software. Grisoft has offices in Brno, Czech Republic and in the United States.

"By acquiring shares in Grisoft, Intel Capital is supporting the development of anti-virus software development and deployment around the globe," said Intel Capital President Arvind Sodhani in a statement. "Under the terms of a strategic cooperation agreement with Grisoft, Intel will work to help Grisoft improve security on computing platforms for small businesses and consumers."

Formerly Intel’s treasurer, Sodhani was appointed head of Intel Capital in March.

Although the anti-virus market is dominated by a few major players in the U.S. such as Symantec , and McAfee , the ever-morphing nature of the virus threat creates opportunity for new companies with new solutions on a regular basis. Microsoft reached out earlier this year to purchase Sybari Software, a provider of anti-virus, anti-spam and content filtering technologies for enterprise customers.

Intel Capital’s stated mission is to focus on minority equity investments to grow the Internet economy in support of Intel's strategic interests. Its wide-ranging investments include hardware, software and services companies in several market segments, including computing, networking, and wireless communications. Intel Capital has invested more than $4 billion in approximately 1,000 companies in more than 30 countries since 1991.

Last year alone, Intel Capital invested more than $130 million in about 110 deals with approximately 40 percent of its investments made outside the United States