Reuters reports that Intel's security division, McAfee, is planning to lay off a "small percentage" of its staff of nearly 7,100 employees. Ian Bain, a spokesperson for the security firm, would not provide additional details as to why the cuts will take place, and when.
Security solution providers like McAfee and Symantec are reportedly struggling in an industry now commanded by smartphones and tablets. With the PC sector in a "slump," firms are turning to apps to reel in customers with free services that lead to more robust, premium options.
But even on the desktop front, security firms will likely see even more pressure once Windows 8 lands on store shelves with built-in free anti-virus software. Microsoft already offers this free service – Microsoft Security Essentials (opens in new tab) – as an optional free download for Windows Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit).
Cris Paden, a spokesman for Symantec, told Reuters that the Norton Antivirus company has no plans for layoffs at this time. Currently Symantec is in the middle of a strategic review that launched back in July by the firm's new CEO, Steve Bennett. He took over after Symantec's board fired Enrique Salem (opens in new tab) because "it was in the best interests of Symantec to make a change in the CEO."
"We evaluate conditions on an ongoing and regular basis and there are no plans as of right now," Paden told Reuters.
Intel completed its acquisition of McAfee for $7.7 billion in February 2011. The company said McAfee would continue developing and selling security products and services under its own brand. The acquisition would reportedly enable a "combination of security software and hardware" from one company.
"As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intel, McAfee reports into Intel's Software and Services Group," Intel said at the time. "The group is managed by Renée James, Intel senior vice president, and general manager. McAfee's president, Dave DeWalt, will report to James."
Michael DeCesare and Todd Gebhart have since become the new Co-presidents of McAfee. DeWalt resigned from his role as President in July 2011, and went on to serve as chairman of the board of directors at FireEye back in June.
Reuters reports that Intel is scheduled to release quarterly earnings later this month. This may give more insight as to what's going on with McAfee.