Intel's decision to acquire McAfee, announced today, has major implications for managed services providers. The good news: Both Intel and McAfee have successful MSP-centric partner programs. And it's a safe bet those MSP commitments will continue as Intel digests McAfee. Here's some more perspective, including the Intel-McAfee implications for Microsoft and Symantec.

In case you missed the official news, Intel is acquiring McAfee for about $7.68 billion in cold hard cash. Now, the unofficial analysis: Intel has focused many of its partner efforts on MSPs in recent months (see http://msp.intel.com). Much of the effort involves Intel's vPro technology, which makes it easier for MSPs to proactively manage PCs from afar. Also, vPro offers key power management capabilities. True believers include Greg Donovan, CEO of Alpheon, a managed services provider that has successfully promoted vPro offerings into such vertical markets as health care.

Meanwhile, McAfee has a growing following in the managed services market thanks to the MX Logic buyout. MX Logic ranks among the best-known email filtering and spam protection systems. Designed as a SaaS solution, MX Logic successfully recruited hundreds of partners into a recurring revenue model. Key MSP-centric partners include Spam Soap, which has been growing rapidly in recent months.

Sure, McAfee's partner program has suffered from channel conflict over the years. But more recently, Cisco veteran Alex Thurber has delivered channel credibility within the halls of McAfee. Plus, an Intel-led McAfee may remove any lingering doubts about McAfee's channel commitment.

Doubting Microsoft, Symantec?

On a side note: I believe Intel's buyout of McAfee suggests Intel has lost confidence in Microsoft and Symantec on the security front. In recent years, Microsoft has tried to more effectively safeguard Windows, and Symantec has struggled to balance a security and storage strategy ever since acquiring Veritas in 2005.

By acquiring McAfee, Intel essentially tells the world it doesn't want security concerns to impede IT sales. Instead of relying on Microsoft and Symantec to solve the problem, Intel is addressing the challenge on its own.

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