McAfee, the security software company bought by chip giant Intel last year, reportedly will lay off a small number of its 7,000-plus workers.
According to a report from Reuters, McAfee spokesman Ian Bain confirmed the planned job cuts but would provide no further information, including how many jobs would be lost or when the layoffs would occur. At the end of the second quarter, the company had 7,072 workers.
The news of the job cuts comes at a time of transition in personal and commercial computing, with sales of PCs stagnating in the face of rapid adoption of mobile computing devices, including smartphones and tablets. The slowing growth in the PC market has hit hard established vendors, such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell, who are looking to reduce the reliance on their traditional PC businesses and turn more of their efforts to becoming enterprise IT solutions vendors.
PC component makers also have been impacted, and Intel and rival Advanced Micro Devices are among those looking for new growth areas. Intel and AMD executives have been vocal in their dismissing of the idea of a “post-PC” era, noting the millions of desktops and notebooks that are sold every year. In addition, Intel is pushing its strategy around Ultrabooks—very thin and light notebooks that combine traditional computing features with those found in tablets, including instant-on capabilities, long battery life and touch technology—in hopes of bolstering the flagging market and ushering in a new era for PCs.
Still, the two chip makers are pushing hard to gain a greater foothold in the mobile device chip space—as seen with Intel’s new Atom Z2760 Clover Trail chip and AMD’s Z-60 processor, both for tablets based on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 8 operating system. The vendors are hoping their new low-power chips will enable them to gain ground in the market on ARM Holdings, whose chip designs currently dominate the space.
Intel executives last month announced they were lowering their financial forecast for the third quarter, citing not only a slowing PC market, but also a struggling global economy and weakening demand in emerging markets. Intel is due to release third-quarter financial numbers Oct. 16.
Intel bought McAfee for $7.68 billion in a deal that closed in early 2011. Intel engineers continue to integrate capabilities onto processors, and the company is looking to McAfee to bring greater security capabilities to the chips. It also adds to Intel’s growing software business.
McAfee and other security software vendors, such as Symantec, will see competition in the space further heightened after Oct. 26 when Microsoft releases Windows 8, which will come with free anti-virus software bundled inside.