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Kaspersky partners mixed over price adjustment talk

Believe plans to adjust prices according to the purchasing power of individual markets could give their businesses a boost

Kaspersky partners in the Middle East believe plans to adjust prices according to the purchasing power of individual markets could give their businesses a boost, although some claim the move glosses over more serious channel management issues that the company faces in the region.

The anti-virus software outfit revealed this week that it intends to modify its pricing structure to reflect the disparate buying strengths of markets throughout the MEA region.

The move could help to improve channel sales in markets where the product is deemed unaffordable, as well as discourage companies from turning to countries such as India and China to exploit differences in pricing.

Deeraj Kumar Godla, regional manager at Jordan-based IT provider iAxcess, believes firmer price regulation will allow authorised Middle East partners to counter the effects of grey marketing.

“Looking at the market I think pricing adjustment has to be done because we are getting competition from [Kaspersky] products in India that are being sold cross-territory,” he said. “I think it would be good for a pricing adjustment to happen so that we can compete and sell aggressively versus Symantec and Trend Micro as well.”

Mohammed Faizel, retail manager at Kaspersky distributor Comguard, also supported plans for local price realignment, particularly in the consumer channel.

“Even a little bit of a rise would help to make our margins better and help from the retailers’ perspective as well,” said Faizel. “Obviously the initial move may not be quite as suitable for a reseller, so the adjustments have to be done accordingly, but we see that it could definitely help us.”

Speaking on the sidelines of this week’s Kaspersky MEA Partner Conference in Dubai, regional managing director Tarek Kuzbari said the adjustment of prices in markets such as Afghanistan could make the difference between customers purchasing legitimate products and associated services than not at all.

“We are trying our best to achieve customer satisfaction in terms of pricing, but at the same time maintain the image of the product,” explained Kuzbari. “We are not the cheapest product in the market and we are not going to be, but we are going to adjust prices to meet customer demand.”

One Kaspersky partner from the region disagreed that price adjustments were a positive step, insisting that the vendor needed to get on top of other challenges first.

“We are working in a region where pricing has never been an issue, especially for anti-virus because you still have the free versions — good products like AVG that can be downloaded for free. Price is not an issue for somebody who wants to purchase an anti-virus. The point is that Kaspersky doesn’t have a proper business model — right now there is too much of a price war amongst the distributors and I don’t believe that adjusting prices is going to solve any issues,” said the partner.

New regional channel manager, Aman Manzoor, said the company would be building provisions into its partner programme to ensure that differential pricing does not lead to unlawful cross-border trading within the Middle East.

“If you look at the majority of the vendors in the world they have different pricing for different regions — the important thing is to set rules that discourage such behaviour. One of the key components in our new partner programme is defining the territories and making it clear that the rules of the territory need to be upheld,” said Manzoor.

At its partner conference this week, Kaspersky unveiled plans to increase its investment in the channel, create clearer partner segmentation and enhance its deal registration and discount policies.

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