Following the launch of its first partner programme, antivirus company F-Secure is to drop a tier from its channel in an effort to increase focus in a sector with a high number of vendors.
The company is giving resellers the choice to buy direct or through distributors and will support authorised partners directly.
"Some resellers wanted to be given the chance to work directly with us," said Jason Holloway, UK country manager at F-Secure. "We want to give resellers more direct support so they can focus on our products."
Holloway explained that resellers will still be given the opportunity to buy through distributors.
"Distributors add some value that some partners need and demand," he said. "We have worked alongside distributors for a few years now and will continue to do so."
But F-Secure's distributors, Allasso and Unipalm, both admit that F-Secure is not their main focus.
Smaller vendors can sometimes get more work direct with resellers because distributors will favour one vendor, according to David Ellis, director of e-security at Unipalm.
"We lead off Trend Micro for antivirus products and F-Secure wants more focus," he said.
Bernie Dodwell, sales and marketing director at Allasso, added that the F-Secure products are good but the move reflects the tough price competition in the antivirus market.
"F-Secure is up against companies such as Symantec, Network Associates and Trend Micro in this market," he said. "There is a lot of margin pressure and F-Secure's move to work directly with resellers could boost margins."
Dodwell questioned the move to mix its channel with resellers that are still able to buy from distributors.
"How will it deal with conflict and how will they encourage distributors to grow any of their accounts if they could just lose the business to resellers buying direct from F-Secure?" he asked.
But Dodwell admitted that Allasso never had real focus on F-Secure. "We signed F-Secure as a complementary product to Clearswift's MIMEsweeper because it was a good fit and never had it as a core offering," he said.
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