Intel has become the second IT vendor giant inside a week to be linked with a potential sale of its security arm, a prospect some of its partners have welcomed.
Following Dell's decision to sell SonicWall and Quest last week, the FT reported yesterday that Intel is weighing up options for its Intel Security arm six years after buying McAfee for $7.7bn (£5.8bn).
This could include a sale of the business, potentially to private equity, the report said.
David Lannin, director of technology at Intel Security Gold partner Sapphire, said the business had become "less coherent" under Intel's tutelage and claimed a change of ownership would "probably be a good thing" for resellers.
"Let's face it, they have had the technology for a few years and have done no integration into the rest of the Intel equipment," Lannin (pictured) said. "If anything, they've fractured the old McAfee story in a bad way for both resellers and customers. They have sold off parts of it and it has become less coherent and has not lived up to their promises when they acquired the company."
Jon Busfield, managing director of Intel Security Gold partner Cygnia, said most of his Intel Security business was based around the firewall products that were sold last year.
"It's surprising that they are [thinking about] disposing of it because they have already taken out the NGFW and email stuff. I would have thought they would have done it as a job lot," he said.
Intel announced in April that it would axe more than a tenth of its workforce as it continues to move away from PCs and towards such markets as IoT and the datacentre.
The FT report said a band of private equity firms could unite to buy Intel Security if the $7.7bn price Intel paid for McAfee it is matched or exceeded.
Security blogger Graham Cluley pointed out that this would represent the second time Intel has exited the security market – it had an anti-virus product in the 1990s but sold it to Symantec in 1998.
Although Intel began to phase out the McAfee brand two and a half years ago, the business has been kept fairly separate, said Bob Tarzey, service director at analyst Quocirca.
"Intel presumably now thinks buying McAfee was a mistake," Tarzey (pictured) said. "That's probably not because it thinks security is a bad place to invest in – we all know it's a vibrant part of the market. But if you buy a leviathan that is being challenged all over the place by competitors, it may not be producing the returns shareholders expected."
Intel declined to comment on the FT report.
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