Webroot's upcoming partner conference in Dublin is to be snubbed by some of the vendor's leading UK partners, with many expressing anger that the event has been moved from the UK.
The security vendor wrote to partners this week to invite them to its international headquarters in the Irish capital on 10 February for its EMEA Partner Summit 2012. The email, from recently appointed vice president of worldwide sales and operations Justin Endres, instructs partners to book their place by replying to EMEA channel manager Richard Daly.
Daly, who will be based in Ireland, replaces long-serving channel leader Ian Moyse, who departed Webroot before Christmas.
Endres' email says: "This year we are planning a full day to offer a deep dive into the technology, channel strategy, market backdrop, as well one-on-one discussions to help optimise our partnership/businesses."
Sources have indicated to ChannelWeb that moving the shindig across the Irish sea has caused consternation among the channel. This is partly because Webroot has few partners in Ireland, and the better part of its EMEA business is in the UK, say sources. Having to pay for flights, accommodation and lost man-hours has also irked UK VARs, ChannelWeb understands.
Hamid Masud, managing director of Managed Security Solutions, called the move "contemptible" and questioned whether Webroot really wants partners to attend.
"This shows the value they put on their channel. They did not even bother discussing this with them," added Masud. "This was a chance for them to show they value the channel and want to hear what we have to say."
John MacDonald, technical director of Shop4-IT, felt that Webroot could have offered some subsidy for flights. He added that his firm would not be attending as it was "winding down its business" with the vendor.
"One of our biggest customers has got 500 seats and they actually moved from Sophos appliances onsite because they wanted to go hosted. Since the decision [to exit the email security market] we will not be keeping up any business with Webroot," said MacDonald.
"If we are not doing email with them, I do not want to do web with them: I do not want several different vendors all over the place. We are not being petty, it is a strategic decision."
MacDonald expressed a degree of disappointment at the manner in which Webroot has handled the strategic shift, and felt that canning email security was "a decision taken by an accountant".
Duncan Little, managing director of Bright Cloud, claimed he was not overly concerned by the partner conference relocation, but that moving the event to Dublin typified the "offhand and arrogant way" in which Webroot has conducted itself of late.
"I think the problem is that there are a lot of upset partners that wanted to make their voices heard," he said. "They might have made the drive for a couple of hours [to do so], but are unlikely to fly to Dublin."
Little explained that his firm is evaluating a couple of vendor options to which they can migrate their email security customers.
"When we first heard they were getting out of the email market, we were surprised but I dealt with that. We are all just dealing with this situation quite pragmatically," he said. "They then changed their position from, ‘we are going to be exiting the email filtering market at the end of 2013' to ‘we are exiting now'. That has put our customers in a bit of a quandary."
Other partners contacted by ChannelWeb claimed they would not be attending the Irish get-together, stressing that their top priority was migrating their Webroot installed base as painlessly as possible.
Webroot was unavailable for comment.
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