Intel - McAfee Deal : A Goldmine For Partners?

By Yogesh Gupta Aug 26th 2010

Chip giant Intel is acquiring security vendor McAfee for an astounding Rs.35,674 Crores ($7.68 billion). What does this deal mean for channel partners in India? Is there a big opportunity?

A week has passed since Intel made an announcement to acquire McAfee for an astounding figure of Rs.35, 674 Crores ($7.68 billion). A big security company McAfee seems to be in right hands of Intel, the world leader in chip technology and processors. However, murmurs continue as vendors, analysts, customers and partners eagerly wait for Intel and its next consolidated roadmap. What does the deal mean for partner organizations dealing in security and importantly McAfee in India?

MIEL eSecurity, a McAfee partner is optimistic about the deal. “It is a good move by Intel. McAfee is now part of bigger group which instills more confidence to invest further in this domain,” says Amit Vyas, Business Head, MIEL eSecurity. ACPL Systems are Premium Partners for McAfee. Vishal Bindra, its CEO says, “As we hear, McAfee will run as an independent unit .Hence, it is not a bad idea for Intel to utilize surplus cash to buy a profitable company (which is one of the strongest players in Information security domain).”

Mikroz InfoSecurity is a Premier (Managed) Partners for McAfee. The Delhi headquartered organization derives hundred percent revenues from security offerings Capt. Ashok B. Shiroor, its MD says, “We are very positive as this deal would greatly assist our customers and us in improving their security postures. This amalgamation will facilitate further innovations in their security offerings.” The acquisition is a surprise (more importantly the Acquirer) for Taarak India who is a silver partner of McAfee with a relationship spanning over a decade. At first, the prices paid seem unjustified, but when you think of it, if they had to be acquired, then why not Intel? ,asks Harish Tyagi, CEO,Taarak India.

The Rationale Of Deal

Intel, on their part, would clearly differentiate themselves from other players by adding this significant ability of security now as per partner community. N K Mehta, CEO, Secure Network Solutions (SNS) says, “Though we are not major partner of McAfee, I feel Intel may incorporate security features of McAfee in the hardware and sell as a safer device. “The current model to secure cyberspace wasn't extensible across the huge plethora of heterogeneous, connected devices out there. This would seriously impact everyone and anything connecting to the Internet,” says Shiroor.

Paresh Shah, Director, P H Teknow - a McAfee reseller says, “Intel will get the ready customers base and partner for security software as they can leverage their product portfolio and solution space.” Intel gets a leapfrog jump into the security arena, which is growing at a healthy pace. Embedding a certain amount of security on the chip too will go a long way in securing the platform in the future, feels Tyagi at Taarak India.

Intel will innovate as a differentiator with its new offerings as security ready (e.g. something like hypervisor in offerings - virtualization ready – which boosted compute sales),says Vyas at MIEL eSecurity.

Change In Strategy

Mikroz InfoSecurity will continue to focus on their core policy being, architecting a solution that is a best fit in a given customer environment, while being brand agnostic. The McAfee anti-malware and other offerings today are one of the best out there, says Shiroor. MIEL eSecurity would not change its roadmap so soon as Vyas says, “It is a cautious period of wait & watch.” Mehta at SNS says, let’s wait and watch, while Shah echoes a similar sentiment, “We will wait and watch.”

As an Enterprise Business partner with McAfee, Pune based Leon Computers is partially affected by this news. Rahul Meher, MD, Leon Computers says, “Intel will benefit if seriously they want to integrate security features with chip. Players like Trend Micro and Symantec will move very fast in Enterprise space to capture the McAfee accounts.

ACPL systems is not altering its ‘Go to Market’ strategy with enterprise accounts. If Intel does something which is not in tune with our business only then we see the reason to shift from McAfee, ponders Bindra. Tyagi at Taarak India says, “I see no reason to align with other vendors based on the acquisition. It is not reasonable to assume that Intel will kill the brand or change the strategy after paying such a hefty amount. The old saying - "If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it" would prevail.”