VentureBeat discusses some plausible reasons why separating Intel and McAfee (aka Intel Security Group) is smart for both businesses:

There were a few small combinations that emerged but the pair never pulled off a bigger play, mainly because there was insufficient focus from management on making it happen. As time passed after the acquisition, it seemed that the separation between McAfee and Intel grew instead of shrinking. And 2-3 years ago, it was clear that McAfee, even as it changed its name to Intel Security, was primarily a standalone operation and not a fully integrated Intel technology play.

Of course, changing market dynamics haven’t helped. The PC market is currently troubled, with shrinking unit sales and an extended refresh cycle. That limits any benefits to Intel, as McAfee (as well as its competitors) struggle to get back to the growth of previous years. And with all of the uptake of mobile devices, most of which are not protected at all, there is minimal sales potential for McAfee in this growth market. This lowers any possible upside in volumes to make up for the reduction in PC sales. Most mobile device security is provided by an entirely new breed of player, and McAfee never sufficiently made the transition. Although it did make a few acquisitions along the way, none materialized into anything significant, due primarily to lack of focus on this emerging market by McAfee management.

Ex-McAfee CEO and current Forescout CEO, Mike DeCesare along with Vice President of Global Sales, Steve Redman, lack the necessary vision to drive a large ship like McAfee to where it needs to go. On the other hand, Chris Young, and the management team he has assembled, seem very intelligent and poised to make the right moves to get McAfee skating to where the puck will be rather than where it is right now.

Part of me wonders if Chris Young was brought onboard with the knowledge of the endgame: clean things up and get McAfee in tip-top condition so the business unit can be sold for a profit. If the was the goal, it is a tough job considering Intel paid $7bn for McAfee five years ago.

CRN is speculating on five potential destinations for Intel Security. I found this one the most intriguing:

Cisco has been betting big on its security portfolio over the past year, focusing on building out a holistic set of security solutions that it says will outpace competitors Palo Alto Networks and FireEye. That “Security Everywhere” push has led to multiple recent acquisitions, including Lancope, OpenDNS, Portcullis and Neohapsis. Most recently, Cisco said this week that it plans to acquire cloud security startup CloudLock for $293 million. Partners said Cisco’s deep pockets and a desire to continue expanding its portfolio would likely put it in the running for companies that could be interested in Intel Security.

Guess where Chris Young worked prior to joining Intel?

Cisco.