Mergers and Acquisitions, Networking

Intel Selling McAfee Security Unit?

Intel may sell its McAfee security business -- now known as Intel Security -- according to the Financial Times. The report emerges as traditional anti-virus companies strive to evolve for the mobile and cloud services age.

> Updated Sept. 1, 2016: TPG Among Potential Bidders for Intel Security/McAfee?

Intel has been talking to its bankers about options for the Intel Security unit, the report stated. The chip giant wasn't reached for comment. Speculation about the security business emerges two months after Intel's overall business announced 12,000 job cuts in order to focus more on cloud, data center and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Intel Security, Symantec and other PC security companies have struggled to remain front-and-center amid evolving IT business models and consumption models. Indeed, Symantec sold off its Veritas storage business in 2015, announced layoffs in 2016, recently acquired Blue Coat and named a new CEO to jumpstart growth.

Intel Security: Buying and Selling McAfee?

Intel acquired McAfee for $7.6 billion in 2011 as part of push to more closely develop PC processors and associated security. But the move came just as the center of the IT world was shifting from PCs toward mobile and cloud services. At the same time, VARs were shifting to managed services business models with recurring revenue streams -- which undermined traditional PC software sales.

Further complicating matters, Intel shut down certain SaaS security services in 2015 without giving partners much notice.  Amid all those transitions, Intel Security (the former McAfee) had mixed performance with emerging MSPs -- many of whom discovered emerging security alternatives like Reflexion Networks (now owned by Sophos).

Additional security companies like OpenDNS (now owned by Cisco Systems) and Webroot got cozy with MSP software suppliers, emerging as default security dashboards for thousands of channel partners worldwide. And companies like Datto and Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda are now blending storage and security solutions for MSPs -- which is ironic, considering Symantec failed in that blended approach.

Still, Intel Security's business has been holding up reasonably well amid all those market shifts. For its Q1 2016, the security unit's revenue was $537 million -- up 5 percent sequentially and 12 percent year over year, according to an April 19, 2016 earnings release.

Intel Security: Regaining Focus?

Ken McCray
Ken McCray

Meanwhile, Intel has been making a renewed security partner push in 2016. Kenneth McCray became Intel Security Channel Chief in January 2016, announced a series of well-received moves and hosted a partner summit in May.

We're reaching out to Intel for an update on the security strategy.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.