Price hike leaves many businesses few options, little protection

Well it is that time of year again for many businesses. A time of year many business owners loathe. That’s right, it is license renewal time!

Many software vendors have felt the pinch just as their customers have, with some customers failing to renew software assurance programs or holding off on software and hardware upgrades as part of internal austerity measures. Many of these vendors have offered special sales or upgrade incentives to help retain their customers and keep them current, but not Symantec.

Instead of maintaining pricing, Symantec has made the foolhardy choice to double its prices by eliminating basic support and forcing users into “essential” level support. This means access to a less-than-useful call center 24×7 instead of from 8×5.

Here is the breakdown:

  • Virus protection licensing has been increased by over 50%
  • Backup exec support has been increased by over 90%
  • For this huge increase in overhead an 8-5 business now gets support available to them when they aren’t even open.

It is truly unfortunate that this comes at such a difficult time for small businesses around the country, as this huge jump in prices will mean that many cannot afford to continue using Symantec’s services. Many will be forced to put their businesses at risk by using outdated anti-virus software and unsupported backup products, or will look to other vendors for solutions.

I will be working with many of my clients over the coming months to help guide them toward alternatives. Some clients are already choosing similar offerings from competitors such as Microsoft, Sophos, Comodo, Aperture and CA. Others will suffer as they will lose access to many monitoring and centralized management tools as they look toward open source alternatives. In both cases, longtime customers of Symantec will be saying farewell to their fair-weather friend, and I fear both sides will suffer from this folly.

I have only one question for Symantec’s executives:

What in the world are you thinking?