Google's Postini Changes Leave Partners in the Lurch

The company's price cuts and other changes have VARs looking for more channel-friendly e-mail security vendors.

Google's recent changes to pricing and support services for Postini e-mail security products have left partners reeling and searching for more channel-friendly vendors for their customers' e-mail security needs.

Google, which acquired Postini for $625 million in July 2007, said on Feb. 5 it was reorganizing its e-mail messaging security products into three new "Powered by Postini" offerings. It is also reducing prices for some of those offerings by as much as 90 percent to as little as $3 per user per year. Previously, the products were offered via the channel for prices ranging from $30 per user per year to $100 per user, for year.

The packages will be part of Google Apps Premier Edition and will consist of Google Message Filtering, which will be available for $3 per user per year; Google Message Security, which will be priced at $12 per user per year; and Google Message Discovery for $25 per user per year.

Partners say the price cuts are yet another unfriendly move against Postini's channel partners and that even before the acquisition closed last July, Postini's direct sales force had been approaching customers directly.

"We've been working on a transition to [e-mail messaging security provider] MXLogic since September when Postini started going direct to our customers and undercutting our prices," said one former Postini partner based in California, who wished to remain anonymous. He added that while Postini had always maintained a direct sales force, it focused on larger midmarket and enterprise customers, and channel partners took care of SMB (small and midsize business) customers.

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