April 09, 2009, 6:25 PM — Last November, McAfee closed its $465 million acquisition of Secure Computing. It was a good deal for McAfee, since Secure's firewalls and other security products have always been highly regarded. But when a smaller company is bought by a larger company, what happens to the smaller company's sales channel? In this case, it seems we're still not sure, and Secure Computing partners are starting to get restless. (For disclosure purposes and to please my editor, I'll tell you now that I was a contractor at Secure Computing in the pre-McAfee days.) Secure Computing's partners got notice of branding changes this week, so it seems that the transformation is nearly complete.
Blog reports are seeing concern on the part of Secure Computing's partners simply because McAfee is so much larger. McAfee has 15,000 partners to Secure Computing's 3,000--so Secure partners are naturally worried that their selling power is going to get diluted. There is also talk of requiring Secure Computing partners to re-qualify for the McAfee partner program, and requirements may be a lot stiffer. That would be a bad move on the part of McAfee, since Secure had a solid partner program to begin with. In the coming months though, we'll be able to see a clearer picture of how well McAfee uses the channel resources they are inheriting.