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Intel Capital Goes for Czech Mate

Intel Capitals decision to acquire a $16 million stake (reportedly about 20 percent) in Czech antivirus software vendor Grisoft underlines the growing importance of security -- and of Eastern Europe -- to major technology vendors (see Intel Acquires Grisoft).

The deal represents Intel Capital’s largest investment in Central and Eastern Europe to date, and it comes at a time when a number of vendors are casting their eyes eastward. It is now over a year since the European Union admitted 10 new member states, eight of whom (including the Czech Republic) are in Eastern Europe, and the region is now undergoing something of a technology renaissance.

Last year, analyst firm IDC identified Eastern Europe as one of the hottest areas for IT spending in 2005, and vendors have already started to take notice of the region (see IDC Makes 2005 Predictions).

Computer Associates International Inc. (CA) (NYSE: CA), for example, recently announced plans to target Eastern Europe, and IBM Corp.'s (NYSE: IBM) first-quarter results were bolstered by its performance in the region (see CA Slights Breakfast Club and IBM Reports Q1 Results).

Earlier this year, Tom Noonan, the CEO of Internet Security Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ISSX), which is regarded as something of a security trailblazer, identified the Baltic states, parts of the former Yugoslavia, and “Middle Europe,” as offering a great window of opportunity to help build new security infrastructures (see ISS Sets Out 10-Gig Strategy).

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