Some resellers of Bloxx have expressed their shock and anger after the web filtering vendor informed them its product set will be discontinued under its new owner.
Bloxx chief executive Charles Sweeney wrote to partners to confirm its takeover by cloud services firm Akamai will herald an end to the sale of all Bloxx products.
"As part of the Akamai family, Bloxx remains fully committed to serving our partners and customers to ensure that you continue to receive the highest level of technical support and customer service," Sweeney said in the letter, seen by CRN.
"All existing customer contracts will be fully honoured until the expiration of their current term."
Founded in 1999, Bloxx has pitted itself as a low-cost alternative to Websense and has around 45 partners in the UK.
Bloxx has 55 employees and is headquartered in Edinburgh. A representative from Akamai sent a statement to CRN that said that this office will be kept open.
"This will be a key location as we retain the Bloxx talent necessary to execute on our strategy and in support of their legacy business," the statement said.
The firm would not talk of any resurrecting plans, saying "we cannot comment on specific personnel issues".
"Bloxx's Secure Web Gateway (SWG) technology will be instrumental to Akamai's goal of bringing this new suite of enterprise security offerings to market in 2016," the statement added.
Mark Adams, director of Bloxx reseller Galtec, said news of the discontinuation was as much of a surprise to Bloxx staff as to everyone else.
"I don't even think the people at Bloxx knew, because when my sales guys rang up, they [Bloxx staff] were in a state of shock, not quite knowing what was going on," he said. "It was only a week before that the account manager was ringing around to close deals. So I guess it must have been business as usual and pressure to get business in before this acquisition came through."
Earlier this year, Bloxx's former UK channel manager, Peter Heron, left to join the firm's competitor CensorNet, and Adams felt this might have impacted the company's prospects.
"Peter Heron was a longstanding sales guy for them, very charismatic and [he] led and championed the business. And he left to go to a competitor, so I'm not sure if that's had any effect on the business.
"It hasn't been the same business for quite some time. There has been some shift in movement, and it hasn't quite got back into the driving seat," he added.
Despite Akamai saying it is committed to keeping the Scottish office open, Adams was sceptical that this will be the case.
"By the way they have made the announcement, it has been a shock to everyone, then what is to say they wouldn't come with another shock and completely close the thing?" he said. "If they have not been honest and transparent right through with the team, then I don't see any reason why they would have to keep that going. I really feel Bloxx could have been more open with how they have gone about this. I feel they have really not helped themselves in anyway."
Adams said there are alternative technologies to Bloxx, but was not happy with the process.
"What I am disappointed about is we have deals we have been working on, and sales guys are expecting commission on these deals and these are imminent. So suddenly you have to go to customers and say ‘we didn't know this, but guess what'. So that is disappointing."
UPDATE: Since CRN went to press, Marc Fairclough, Bloxx's director of channel sales, got in touch and said the following: "The channel has been working really well over the last year. We have been increasing records and channel sales, and we have really backed the channel. Acquisitions are part of the type of business we work with, but people only look to acquire companies that are doing well and are succeeding in the field, so it's something that happens around people who have identified success and our channel has worked on that success, alongside people like Altinet, NTS-Capita and Landscape. From myself and Bloxx we would like to push a thank you out to the channel."
One Bloxx partner, who wished to remain anonymous, also said the move was a big shock.
"It was a complete bolt out of the blue; I am surprised by it all, as were all their members of staff."
But Henry Doyle, director of Bloxx partner Altinet, was not overly concerned by the developments.
"It means we have to look at alternative solutions, but we are more of a security consultant; we work with multiple vendors," he said. "So for us, it doesn't make a massive difference. But for others who are heavily reliant on them, it might.
Clarification: @Bloxx current customers will be supported by the UK based technical team until the end of their current agreement— Altinet (@AltinetUK) November 3, 2015
"From our perspective and the customer perspective, there is no need to panic. All contracts will be supported but they will need to look for new solutions when they are due for renewal.
"We work very closely with Barracuda, and they are, from our perspective, a natural replacement."
When approached, Bloxx was unavailable for comment on the matter.
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