Some Trend Micro Partners Cry Foul Over Renewals

Roy Miehe, CEO and president of, Campbell, Calif., told CRN one of his customers informed him it had been contacted by reseller Softchoice for a maintenance renewal, even though the contract was not yet up.

"We have someone on staff specifically to track these deals, and I assure you this contract was not up for renewal," Miehe said. "I worked hard to build my customer base and count on the annual annuity for these efforts, but it looks like it was solely for Trend [Micro's] benefit."

In an e-mail viewed by CRN, the customer told Miehe that the Softchoice sales representative admitted to receiving his contact information from Trend Micro, Cupertino, Calif. Contacted by CRN, Lane Bess, president of North America operations at Trend Micro, said the customer information did not come from Trend Micro. However, he said that sometimes, in an attempt to stay on top of renewals, resellers will call upon the existing customers of other channel partners.

"Maintenance renewals are important to us, and there are certain partners that are asleep at the switch," Bess said. "Inadvertently, a [large-volume reseller] can call on a customer when they shouldn't be, and our biggest failure is that we don't police that enough."

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Shawn Murphy, director of inside sales at Trend Micro, said, "We only work with a new partner if we receive no response from the current reseller or if the current reseller approves of the transfer."

Still, Miehe's case is not isolated. At least three other solution providers in the past two weeks told CRN they have faced the same issue. One solution provider, who asked to remain anonymous, said that CDW contacted one of his customers on the very day that his company was processing a maintenance renewal.

Another solution provider, Roger Blocchi, director at Network Engineering, Indianapolis, said he has lost so many contracts to other Trend Micro resellers in his region that he has decided to carry Trend Micro products only as a convenience for pre-existing customers.

"I will renew Trend [Micro] products for those customers who want it, but I'm not marketing it directly anymore," Blocchi said.