Intel Security no more as McAfee rebrands and strikes out alone

UK VP for McAfee UK and Ireland explains to Computerworld UK what he expects is next for the business now that Intel has a minority 49 percent stake


Chip manufacturer Intel has ditched its controlling stake in Intel Security, which is now rebranding back to the original McAfee. The silicon giant bought the AV outfit for more than $7 billion in 2010.

Intel first announced that it would sell 51 percent of its ownership to TPG in late 2016. The chip company will still hold 49 percent of the firm, and according to McAfee VP for UK and Ireland Nigel Bolt, it is committed to financial support.

Image: McAfee/Intel Security HQ in Santa Clara - Credit: Wikipedia
Image: McAfee/Intel Security HQ in Santa Clara - Credit: Wikipedia

Speaking with Computerworld UK, Bolt said that the strategy has not changed since Chris Young was named to take the CEO role last year – that is, taking advantage of what McAfee perceives to be a trend towards consolidation in cyber, plus introducing its connected platform architecture across all enterprise infrastructure and the supply chain.

According to Bolt, the 49 percent – 51 percent split between Intel and TPG is "the best for us going forward".

"We have the financial investment and support and Intel is keen to continue that," he said. "But also we have the real flexibility as an independent company to really accelerate our go-to-market and accelerate our product development."

Intel swung the axe at its workforce as part of a restructuring effort in April last year, with 12,000 jobs flagged to be cut. Intel Security was one of the business units that survived that, perhaps in part because the major stake was to be sold. As for jobs in the company now, McAfee currently has about 7,500 cyber specialists worldwide, and Bolt said there are "many open job positions available as we continue to grow, and in the UK and Ireland as well."

"Intel brought us some good benefits especially in the product development environment, and especially in data centre and IoT where they’re really driving the market in that respect," said Bolt. "In many ways that helped us develop our product set in that environment, but ultimately they’re a silicon manufacturer, and what we really are is a software business, and a software business that is pivoting to the cloud as part of our strategy.

"So we’ve had some great benefits with Intel but for us to get back to our core business, to be totally focused and dedicated on cyber security, us standing up as an independent company is a perfect opportunity to do that."

Bolt could not offer any insight on how McAfee founder John McAfee’s legal efforts to take back his namesake would go, or whose shoulders wrangling with the lawsuit would rest on. But he did suggest that McAfee would proceed with its major rebranding drive as it parts ways with Intel, and that it would "absolutely" stick with its name. And even recently after its seven-year existence under Intel, customers were still referring to Intel Security as McAfee.

"We intend to develop that brand," Bolt said. "We’ve got some new digital branding that’s going to start to hit the market now, some really nice, new clean logos. We’ve got a massive great shield downstairs which is connected in two parts."

With regards the UK market, the business has set about reorganising itself to focus on particular sectors, for instance, public sector, finance, manufacturing and retail.

"We’ve very focused on making sure we support our partners and work in conjunction with our partners in the UK and Ireland, and that goes right from some of the big system integrators we work with to some of our really important managed partners, and right down to the midmarket, which tends to be supported by more value-added resellers," he said. "So, investment in making sure those partners grow with us, and also taking advantage of the market opportunity of our new branding, our new launch, and the new products that are part of our Focus 16 strategy."

"We have an absolute intention to continue to grow market share and to offer customers our total solution rather than point products," he added.

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