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McAfee channel partners say Intel CEO Paul Otellini's pledge to keep the company a separate security division of the chip giant didn't come as a surprise, but instilled confidence that allows them to make strategic decisions about their mobile expansion.
In what some considered the strongest statements yet on the future of the McAfee acquisition, Otellini reaffirmed the company's commitment to keeping the newly acquired security vendor a wholly-owned subsidiary of the giant chip manufacturer.
"Our intent is not to change the business model, the sales practices, the terms and conditions, the products, the branding," Otellini said during a keynote speech during Everything Channel's COMDEXvirtual tradeshow, held Nov. 16 and 17. "All that stays the same for the foreseeable future."
Intel's $7.68 billion acquisition of McAfee had raised strong concerns with McAfee channel partners, especially regarding how Intel would handle the security company's SMB business going forward.
As such, Otellini's promise to keep McAfee as its own security division came as welcome news for many partners.
Philip de Souza, CEO of Torrance, Calif.-based Aurora Enterprises, said that the official announcement from Otellini boosted confidence regarding his future as a McAfee partner and cemented his own strategic business decisions going forward. "I think leaving the McAfee brand intact was a wise decision," he said, adding he had heard through the grapevine from Intel that McAfee was going to remain its own security division before Otellini's announcement Wednesday. "The news came like music to our ears."
No stranger to consolidation, Aurora Enterprises partnered with McAfee through a series of acquisitions starting with CipherTrust, and followed by Secure Computing, before ending up with McAfee, de Souza said.
"Just when we got our arms around McAfee, we were holding our breath and saying 'now what?'" he said. "Intel isn't exactly security-focused, or VAR-focused for that matter."
The move initially created doubt that arose from questions about margins, pricing structures, and how his company would interact with the organization going forward, he said.
"Would we still be able to make the same money? Have the same access to support? Those were our primary concerns. They were very rapidly allayed when we found out it was going to remain untouched," he said.
Other partners said that Otellini's assertions did not come as a surprise, but in fact reaffirmed existing beliefs regarding Intel's security strategy.