Should anti-virus specialist Kaspersky Lab’s U.S. sales drop this year by single-digits, as founder Eugene Kaspersky expects, will it presage declines elsewhere? Or, will the ebb, as the company’s founder contends, be confined to the U.S. in a cooked-up “geopolitical fight?”
Here's the chatter so far:
The company is on target to post a nine percent sales gain worldwide to about $700 million even as its U.S. sales are expected to tumble, albeit “less than 10 percent,” Kaspersky told Reuters, blaming the American downturn on an alleged “information war against our company.”
U.S. government officials have long asserted that the Moscow-based Kaspersky and its helmsman’s Soviet intelligence background make it a prime vector for cyber spying. Recent reports of its ties, perhaps incidental or perhaps not, to hacks involving the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance tools haven’t helped the company's cause. Neither have the removal of its products from federal government use or national retailers Office Depot and Best Buy giving it the boot.
Kaspersky (the company) may be ready to concede that U.S. government sales are irretrievably lost. Anton Shingarev, Kaspersky vice president of public affairs, told Reuters the vendor no longer is knocking on the feds’ doors and might shutter its Kaspersky Government Security Solutions (KGSS) Arlington, VA-based wing.
“It is pretty much impossible to sell to U.S. government these days, and we don’t have any plans to do that,” Shingarev said. The company is mulling shifting KGSS staffers to enterprise and intelligence service sales, he said. Cynthia James is the subsidiary’s general manager.
According to Buzzfile, Kaspersky’s U.S. federal agency sales are less than $400,000, or below one percent of its overall revenue.
Here’s more from Eugene Kaspersky (via Reuters):
On the U.S. government agency ban:
- Kaspersky either doesn’t know why his company has been targeted or he sees it as politically motivated owing to Russian hacking in last year’s presidential election. He vacillates between the two positions. “We felt a cold wind started to blow in 2014,” he said, adding that he had not visited the U.S. in two years. After frequent visits, he decided that other geographies had “more promising options” for sales.
:On clearing the company's reputation:
- He’s waiting for U.S. lawmakers to invite him again to testify before Congress about his company’s products and services. The legislative body cancelled a hearing last month where he planned to answer questions.