Symantec is hiking maintenance fees for its enterprise antivirus products in a move which Pacific managing director John Donovan says brings the region into line with the US and Europe.
Symantec has been writing to enterprise customers informing them of the pending increase in annual maintenance fees to 40% of the licence fee, a rise from present rates of 20 per cent to 25 per cent, depending on the country.
"We've been working towards [40 per cent] in this part of the world for a couple of years, to bring some consistency across the region."
Donovan believes this brings the company into line with other players in the antivirus market. He says the company has simultaneously increased the levels of service provided by the maintenance service, which covers not only product patches, updates and full upgrade insurance but also all daily antivirus definitions.
"Back end systems to speed up the dissemination of these definitions have also improved."
Maintenance is tied to renewal, entitling users to automatic upgrades of the software, with 40% of the original point product price paid entitling the customer to another year's worth of upgrades and maintenance, Donovan says.
Kris Ericksen worked with Symantec products while previously in charge of IT at Diabetes New Zealand, but says, speaking personally, he has some sympathy for Symantec.
"It provides a good product and the number of viruses being generated is increasing and the cost of providing that service is increasing."
Paul Leslie, business development manager at Soft Solutions, Trend Micro's New Zealand distributor, says Trend Micro's maintenance fee is 25 per cent.
He is unaware of any plans by Trend Micro to increase it but says "Symantec tends to set the standard on pricing and I hope we don't see a knee jerk reaction that says 'if Symantec does it, we will.
"I feel 25% is fair and reasonable and 40 per cent sounds way over the top, but then again antivirus is a different beast [to other software].
"It's service-intensive; it's not a case of 'we have an R&D team in the background developing a few features.'
"They have to run a 24 x 7 watch on the world and respond rapidly to outbreaks."