Distributor dumps Kaspersky to show solidarity with Ukraine

Security software vendor saddened but says its channel is holding firm


Australian technology distributor Dicker Data has decided to end its commercial relationship with Russian security software vendor Kaspersky.

CEO David Dicker told The Australian Financial Review the decision was taken out of a belief that Western nations have a responsibility to act, and because chief operating officer Vladimir Mitnovetski is Ukrainian so Dicker Data is therefore directly impacted by the illegal invasion.

Kaspersky confirmed that Dicker Data has chosen to end its relationship, and thanked the distributor for "hard work, dedication and support" since taking on the account in 2019.

The Register asked Kaspersky if other distributors have dropped the company and was told "We do not have this information at the moment."

"Kaspersky's business operations remain stable," a spokesperson said. "The company guarantees the fulfilment of its obligations to partners – including product delivery and support and financial transaction continuity. The global management team is monitoring the situation carefully and is ready to act very quickly if needed."

Another distributor, Leader Distribution, remains in place down under after being appointed on February 15th - a date on which Russian troops had already massed near Ukraine's borders. Kaspersky did not address our question as to whether it intended use multiple distributors or if Leader was a replacement for Dicker Data.

Dicker Data is a listed company and has not made a stock market announcement about its decision to stop working with Kaspersky, suggesting the decision will not have sufficient revenue impact to make it material to investors. And that, in turn, implies Kaspersky's losses may not be substantial, either.

The Register asked the distributor if it has stopped using Kaspersky products internally, and for details of its decision-making process and whether it has developed internal policy that considers human rights and geopolitics of brands it represents.

The company pointed us to other coverage of its position that does not address those concerns, but did not respond to our requests before deadline - or after we inquired again after that deadline had expired. Company representatives have said they have limited access to phones so have not returned calls seeking further information and clarification.

Whatever the nuances of Dicker Data's decision, it highlights the potential for channel organizations to pressure Russia's technology industry as part of global efforts to protest the illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Dicker Data confines its activities to Australia and New Zealand – but other distributors such as Ingram and TD Synnex have global scale. The latter has suspended operations in Russia and Belarus. ®

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