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Kaspersky Bows Web Security SW At Retail

Internet security software maker Kaspersky Labs launches itself into the retail market this week with the introduction of two titles that are being positioned as high-end alternatives to the other mass-market brands.

Starting today, Kaspersky’s Internet Suite and Anti-Virus titles began selling through CompUSA, Fry’s Electronics and Office Depot. Several additional office superstores are expected to be added by the third quarter. Kaspersky is placing a price premium on its products to separate itself from the other products on the market that share shelf space.

Kaspersky is targeting the savvier user interested in results and not low price or brand loyalty, said Steve Orenberg, Kaspersky’s president, adding that dropping prices and rebates have reduced the current products to commodity status with slim margins.

“Our position is we didn’t want to get into retail and say, ‘Here is another product.’ That would just shift sales, not grow them. We want it segregated as a premium product with a higher price tag so the retailer can make some money on it,” Orenberg said.

Kaspersky’s Internet Security suite and its Antivirus 6.0 will carry respective suggested prices of $79.95 and $59.95. Both titles are built on new anti-virus engine

The technical differentiators the company will promote on its packaging include updating the software every hour to counter the growing spyware and malware threats ensuring the PC is always protected.

“Two hundred new pieces of malware are discovered each day, and the majority of these are out to steal money, not just screw up your computer,” said Charles Waelde, the company’s senior technical engineer.

Waelde said the software is proactively attempting to stop threats before they hit the firewall. It filters all incoming and outgoing traffic at the packet and application levels, has an intrusion detection system to monitor network traffic to counter common network attacks, and Kaspersky’s Stealth Mode technology protects computers against any detection from outside sources, he said.

While this is the company’s first foray into the consumer Internet security market, Kaspersky has supplied its anti-virus engine to other vendors and sold under its own brand into the enterprise market. Kaspersky announced its retail intentions last year and has spent the ensuing time building its brand and increasing the number or reseller and VARS that carry the software.

Kaspersky was founded in 1996 in Moscow where much of the research and development still takes place. The company is primarily run out of Woburn, Mass.