McAfee Channel Chief: Retiring McAfee Brand Name Should Not Impact Partners

The phase out of the McAfee brand name will begin immediately, according to Intel, but the transition could take a full year and should have no instant impact on channel partners, according to the company's executives.

McAfee channel executives said products, services and price books will not see immediate changes by the move. New security products launched in 2014 will come under the new "Intel Security" umbrella, according to a company announcement made Monday. McAfee remains a wholly owned subsidiary and the channel field sales and support staff remain in place, said Gavin Struthers, McAfee's senior vice president of worldwide channels.

"There are no changes to the McAfee SecurityAlliance Program with this announcement and it is business as usual for partner profitability benefits, enablement and operations," Struthers wrote in blog post Tuesday addressing the name change. "Our goal is to bring the Intel and McAfee security teams together as one while staying focused on delivering world-class digital security and customer service."

[Related: Partners Surprised As Intel Scraps The McAfee Name ]

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Struthers was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

McAfee partners told CRN that the name change was a surprise, but they were not alarmed by the news. The security industry has a history of high-profile mergers and acquisitions, said John Farhat, vice president and CFO of ACTS Consulting Training Solutions, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based McAfee partner. Consolidation happens in cycles, Farhat said. The impact will be minimal as long as Intel stands behind the changes in its messaging, he said.

"I think it all depends on how they deliver the message over time," Farhat said.

Struthers called the Intel Security name a competitive advantage due to Intel's strong brand recognition. The Intel Security brand provides a way to deliver security in a "unified, integrated, and connected approach," rather than a bunch of point products, he said. The move comes at a time that its chief competitor, Symantec is moving into the second year of its two-year strategic plan to simplify and integrate its burgeoning product portfolio and management positions.

Brand changes aren't taken lightly, said Karen Post, a Tampa, Fla.-based branding expert. Post told CRN that firms phase out brands to simplify the portfolio and sometimes freshen up a product line. McAfee, founded in 1987, has a large security portfolio ranging from antivirus software to networking gear, acquiring more than a dozen security and technology vendors over the years before it was acquired for $7.68 billion in 2010.

"A common strategy is to simplify brands within an organization versus constantly rolling out new names and identities in an already fragmented and noisy market," Post said. "It's easier to communicate a message to all the stakeholders and for sellers to be able to cross-sell and upsell around a single unified group of products."

Intel announced the decision to retire the McAfee brand at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show on Monday in Las Vegas. While the McAfee name will be phased out completely, Intel executives said the red McAfee shield logo will remain. The company also maintains an Intel Security Group website as the main portal to consumer, enterprise, and small business security products.