Last week we traveled to Moscow to meet with our major Russian partner—Avsoft (www.avast.ru ). At our recent Reseller Conference here in Prague we had named Avsoft our "Global Rising Star Partner"—they had the highest growth of all our resellers in the world. Unfortunately, because of visa issues Avsoft's leader, Alexey Tarasov, was unable to attend our conference so we went to Moscow to personally present him the award. Avsoft has done a terrific job of building our business in Moscow—he has built a network of hundreds of resellers and is more than doubling the business this year.
I have travelled to over 40 countries but this was my first trip to Russia. As a history buff and an American child of the cold war era I was always fascinated by Russia—especially the literature and the political tensions between our countries. Russian authors—Nabokov, Dostoyevsky, Solzhenitsyn, and Aksyonov to name a few—are my favorites. And, I still remember being surprised at times during middle school recess by the sound of air raid klaxons and sirens from the Nike missile base behind the school. We would all stop play and watch the missiles being raised in preparation for shooting down Russian bombers and missiles. Of course, they were only drills. As school kids we really had no idea what it all meant—it was just fun to watch. I am sure many Russian school children witnessed similar drills. Thankfully the world has dramatically changed for the better.
Our business in Russia has also changed dramatically. From a handful of users a few years ago, we will end 2009 with about 3.5 million consumer users. I would bet this makes us the #2 or #3 product in the market. Russia is now our 4th largest source of new users and has our 6th largest installed base. It is gratifying to succeed in such a market as there is a very well known Russian AV product—Kaspersky. Hopefully soon, we can soon overtake them in protecting Russian consumers.
While in Moscow we also had a chance to present our company and products to about 15 Russian computer journalists. We talked to about our company and business model—a high quality free distribution model is still an uncommon model in Russia. We also gave them a sneak peek at the new Version 5 products. If you can read Russian, you can see or hear some of the information here: