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Users Call 'Check' on Check Point

In the firewall and secure VPN space, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: CHKP) is the proverbial 800 pound gorilla. Its the market leader, which gives it the right to throw its weight around a bit.

Users and analysts, however, say Check Point is over-doing the ape act -- notably in the way it prices some of its products, and in the way its customer support is organized. Resentment is rising and could provide opportunities for competitors such as Juniper Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to move in on the market.

Jeff Murphy, senior programmer analyst at the University of Buffalo, was a Check Point customer for five years, but has now switched to Juniper/NetScreen. “With Check Point, we were unhappy with the cost and the product performance. Basically, they couldn’t match up against the custom hardware solutions that NetScreen provided.”

Murphy was also frustrated by Check Point’s customer support model. Murphy recalls “unnecessary levels of bureaucracy to get resolution… We had to go through the local reseller first, who couldn’t help us with our questions. And several times I had to have the reseller explain and re-explain their confusing licensing structures to make sure that I had purchased the right product.”

A Check Point spokesperson refutes Murphy’s criticism. "Check Point products are licensed based on the number of users or the number of gateways being secured, so there is nothing complex or tricky about this model, and it is industry standard," he says.

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