Channel News

The 10 Most Controversial Companies Of 2022

Steven Burke

Blockbuster acquisitions involving some of the most prominent technology vendors, companies hit by cybersecurity breaches and layoffs from tech stalwarts dominated the list of the most controversial companies in 2022.

10. Kaspersky: Grapples With Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

With the Russia invasion of Ukraine in February, security software provider Kaspersky came under increased scrutiny by the U.S. government.

On March 25, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission added Kaspersky to its list of telecommunications equipment and service providers considered a national security risk. The move made Kaspersky the first Russian firm on the list, which previously only included Chinese companies. Kaspersky asserted that the FCC decision was being made on political rather than technical grounds.

In March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the National Security Council had pressed the Treasury Department to ready sanctions against Kaspersky amid longstanding allegations that the Russian government could exploit Kaspersky’s technology to install malicious software on the networks of its customers

Kaspersky strongly denied any links to the Russian government and fired back in an emailed statement to CRN: “The U.S. government’s lack of response to Kaspersky’s good-faith outreach, while proceeding to take actions to further limit Kaspersky, clearly indicates that such regulatory restrictions are political decisions based on speculation rather than facts.”

The company’s software has been banned from federal civilian and military networks since December 2017.

Kaspersky partners faced the fallout from the threats of U.S. sanctions as some customers looked at replacing the company’s software, solution providers told CRN in March. “Customers that are coming up for renewal are obviously looking elsewhere—they’re scared,” said one solution provider CEO who partners with Kaspersky and asked not to be identified.

MSP platform provider Kaseya responded by terminating support for Kaspersky. In an email to MSPs obtained by CRN, Kaseya advised MSPs to switch from Kaspersky antivirus to an offering built on technology from Romania-based cybersecurity vendor Bitdefender.

“Given the FCC’s recent decision to add Kaspersky to its National Security Threat list, we are urging our small number of remaining KAV [Kaspersky anti-virus] customers to upgrade to our best-in-class AV solution, powered by Bitdefender ASAP,” Kaseya wrote. Kaseya is a reseller of Bitdefender products.

Kaspersky Channel Chief Matthew Courchesne, who had led Kaspersky’s North American B2B channel team since early 2019, left to join cybersecurity firm Cyware, also as channel chief for North America.

Kaspersky remained undeterred, announcing in June the opening of three new “transparency centers” around the globe for customers and others to review the firm’s source codes for various products. That move was described by a Kaspersky executive as an attempt to “prove that we are a trustworthy and reliable partner.”

Kaspersky also updated its channel program in September to make it more attractive to partners. The new United Partner Program included a revised rebate system, extended training programs, and more rewards for MSPs.


Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at

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