Well my clicking-averse friend, you need managewp.com. One login and a click or two, and you've updated all those 15 installs. Either that or migrate everything to multisite (Backup Buddy is great for that).
You're right that on-demand scanning has a high CPU cost. But Intel haven't bought McAfee to change the on-demand settings.
They're going to move security into hardware. Moving it out of the OS and further down the stack is smart, especially regarding rootkits, and will make attack vectors harder and more firmware-specific. Intel has already been adding support for virtualisation and cryptography (see i7 series).
All of this combined is very interesting to anyone running a lot of iron and/or VMs on top. You get a performance increase, plus remove the hassle from keeping AV up to date at OS level. Consumers will probably benefit eventually too.
This acquisition is also quite interesting in light of Intel's move into mobile. Sandboxing isn't going to keep mobile OSes safe for long.
But coming back to your original point about massive govt/military AV subscriptions, I'm presuming that Intel has a clue, and isn't doing this just to bump short-term company figures.
I'm also a fan of Gruber. But he, like many US tech pundits, often fall down when it comes to the wider mobile arena. My main point is that Android is so compelling to manfacturers; it leaves them free to concentrate on the real differentiators - hardware and form factor. This will increasingly enable them to drive down the cost to produce their phones. Their customers, the carriers, always want to sell phones that cost them little to buy, especially when they offer a slick user experience that their customers increasingly hanker after. [Oblig. car analogy] If you can offer an almost-BMW experience at a Toyota price, then people will go for it.
I agree that the US cell phone market has strange priorities, but show them the money, and they will follow. IMHO.
Gahhh! You're falling into the same trap as Gruber. Android does not have to aim for the Porsche market, you don't have to *beat* the iPhone, and this isn't a zero-sum game. Google's mobile OS has the potential to be *the* main platform for high and medium-end phones, and possibly low-end ones as well.
Ask yourself why Android is so attractive to so many phone manufacturers? It allows them to dramatically lower the Bill of Materials and the R&D budget. They no longer have to worry about developing and maintaining their own operating systems, they just need to tinker around the edges. This is a huge cost saving.
Furthermore, if they're in the business of licensing the phone OS, such as HTC with Windows Mobile, then Android phones are a no-brainer. It enables them to lower the cost of producing the phone (the B.O.M.), meaning their customers - the phone carriers - can offer those phones free on relatively low cost contracts to the end-users.
And just wait until you can pick up an Android-powered smartphone for $99 without a contract e.g. the HTC Click or a Samsung device. That's likely to happen to 2010. Android at 3% and it's a failure? I don't think so. This one's a slow burner.