McAfee: Intel Deal Won't Alter Channel Focus

Intel's $7.68 billion acquisition of McAfee has induced more head scratching than a Head & Shoulders shampoo commercial, but McAfee is telling channel partners not to expect drastic business changes.

The deal is currently under regulatory review, but McAfee's senior executives plan to stay on board once it's closed, and McAfee's commitment to partners will remain unchanged, said Alex Thurber, senior vice president of worldwide channel operations at McAfee, in a blog post last week.

"McAfee will continue to strengthen its security focus and you have my commitment, along with Mike DeCesare (executive vice president of worldwide sales) and Dave DeWalt (CEO), that the channel is still a top priority at McAfee," Thurber said in the blog post.

Intel and McAfee have been working together for the past 18 months on hardware-based security, and the fruits of this union are making their way to market. "Plans are in the works to introduce new security offerings as a result of our collaboration," Thurber said in the blog post.

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Intel is expected manage McAfee as a wholly owned subsidiary in the same way EMC runs RSA and VMware. Fernando Quintero, vice president of channel sales for the Americas, says an Intel-McAfee union could help address the security complexity and management issues that companies are grappling with.

"We have an opportunity to change the way security is being managed," Quintero told CRN in an interview. "Everyone is dealing with threats, and different vectors, and security management is getting more complex for customers. This is an opportunity to go in at a lower level and build in security."

Although Intel-McAfee could potentially represent a new strategic direction in security, McAfee insists that it's not changing the focus of its business. "It's business as usual 100 percent," Quintero said. "We have to keep making our numbers, and top-line revenue is still very important to Intel."

Partners should also keep in mind that not all McAfee technologies are going to be integrated with chips, Quintero added.

One thing that will probably change, however, is the size of the addressable market. Prior to the Intel bid, McAfee saw its market opportunity encompassing one billion connected devices, but with Intel, that figure would grow to 50 billion devices, according to Quintero.

"There will be content being pushed and information being driven onto these devices, and that will create new revenue streams and services opportunities for partners," Quintero said.