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To Webroot, Google’s channel moves are commoditizing e-mail security suites and bolstering Webroot’s own partner recruitment efforts with former Postini resellers.

Chris Benham, vice president of corporate marketing for the anti-spyware and e-mail security vendor, said that since Webroot launched a channel program for its Webroot Email Security SaaS (software as a service) and began aggressive partner recruitment drives in February 2008, an average 15 new partners signed up each month. 

Google’s changes to Postini’s e-mail security suite pricing structure announced in February have increased the number of partners interested in Webroot Email Security SaaS significantly, though Benham did not disclose specific numbers.

"We were aggressively recruiting partners already, and then the Google Postini announcement happened, and it made our recruitment that much easier," he said.  He added that one large VAR, who wished to remain anonymous, currently handles several thousand Google customers, and is quietly in talks with Webroot to move those customers to Webroot Email Security SaaS.

To read about the merger of Webroot Software and Email Systems, click here.

"They are trying to stay under the radar because it’s a very delicate, time-consuming process, given the size of the customer and the complexity of migrating thousands of mailboxes," he said.  Bob Berger, director of marketing and global public relations for Webroot, added that if it were known that the VAR was moving to another vendor, Google could just cut them off and shut down their business, he said.   

Benham said Webroot currently had 1,900 Webroot Email Security SaaS partners as of January, and that Webroot had no plans to stem the flow of partners headed their way. 

"We’re always looking at, ‘Let’s get as many of them signed up as we can,’" he said, while also ensuring that those partners can be properly, thoroughly trained and brought up to speed quickly.