Tech Industry

Kerio to scrap desktop firewall

Company says it can't compete with security suites offered by others and instead will focus on its server-based firewall products.

In the face of competition from security suite vendors, Kerio Technologies will pull the plug on its popular desktop firewall product at the end of this year.

Kerio will stop offering its Kerio Personal Firewall product as of Dec. 31 but will continue to support existing customers until the end of next year, said James Gudeli, vice president of strategic business relations at the Santa Clara, Calif., company.

The Kerio Personal Firewall is available in a free and paid version, which for $45 adds such features as intrusion detection, remote administration and Web filtering. The software has been downloaded more than 2 million times since it became available in March 2002, the company said.

Kerio is pulling out of the desktop firewall space because it can't compete with security suites that bundle a firewall with antivirus and spyware-fighting software, the company said. Such products are sold by companies including Symantec, McAfee, Trend Micro and Zone Labs.

"Without our own antivirus or anti-spyware products, it is very difficult to compete against the bundled products of other providers," Gudeli said. "Everybody expects their security software to do everything. We specialize in firewall security. We can't make this product successful given the new technology we would have to develop or acquire."

Instead, Kerio will focus on selling its server-based WinRoute Firewall to small and medium-size businesses, Gudeli said.

Though Kerio is not planning to offer its Personal Firewall customers an alternative, users looking for a free or low-cost firewall for their PC have several options, including: Zone Labs' ZoneAlarm, Microsoft's Windows Firewall, Computer Associates' Tiny Personal Firewall and Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall.

Kerio has not yet decided what to do with its desktop firewall technology once its stops selling the product.