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This week at the McAfee SecurityAlliance Partner Summit, the
company finally rolled out its first product co-developed by its acquirer of nine
months, Intel, and announced that it would be launching some new channel
initiatives for partners while at the same time culling a number of inactive
partners to better support  the
consistent producers.

"We are going to lead the transformation of the
computing experience to one that is more mobile, seamless, and secure,” said
Alex Thurber, senior vice president of worldwide channels at McAfee.  “We
are evolving our channel strategy to fuel this transformation by helping our
channel partners innovate and differentiate themselves.”

The product that McAfee believes will lead that
transformation is DeepSAFE, a layer of protection placed between the processor
and the operating system to secure in-memory system software from malware and
offer visibility into drivers and other system applications. Initially unveiled
in September
at the Intel Developer’s Forum, DeepSAFE was lanched this week
as a part of McAfee’s new Deep Defender endpoint security suite. The use of
DeepSAFE in this new suite is intended to avert the flood of rootkits and other
malware designed to avoid detection through infection of system level software.

“The bad guys are getting smarter about hiding malware, but
they can’t hide it when interacting with the hardware, memory or operating
system. We can now detect these interactions, and provide an unprecedented
level of protection to our customers by blocking an entirely new range of
stealthy threats," said Todd Gebhart, co-president of McAfee.
 "McAfee Deep Defender represents an entirely new approach to
security and shows the power of what McAfee can do as part of the Intel

On the channel side of the house, McAfee told partners that
it will now offer a couple of new programs. The McAfee Accredited Channel
Engineer (ACE) program will give partners the training to independently drive
technical pre-sales activities and close deals faster. And the previously
piloted McAfee Authorized Support Provider (MASP) program is being given the
green light, giving certified organizations the training, proprietary tools and
third-level support engineers  to
directly deliver first- and second-level McAfee support.

Additionally, McAfee is further trying to embrace the
managed service community by adding a new Managed Service Partner (MSP) Program
to its SecurityAlliance partner program. The MSP program will be tailored
specifically to MSSPs, giving them better opportunity to sell and support their
own branded service solutions on the back of the McAfee portfolio.

McAfee told partners that these new programs should help
them gain more share and margin, just as its SMB Specialization and SMB
Accelerated Deal Registration program has in the six months since they rolled
it out. According to the company, those two investments by McAfee have yielded
25 percent margin enhancement for involved partners.

In order to the company up to provide the higher level of
investment necessary to roll out these kinds of programs, McAfee honchos said
at the event that it will continue to sift out inactive partners in favor of
those better engaged in the brand. Last year the firm cut over 40 percent of
its partner base down and it will shorten its list of partners by one-fifth again
in 2011.