Turmoil is brewing just below the surface of the channel as frustrated and margin-starved resellers wonder how they can make money on antivirus software.

Tabloid has received information that resellers of Network Associates (NAI) antivirus products are being gazzumped by the vendor on sales and renewals.

`They're supposed to have us registered as the reseller of record,' one disgruntled silver NAI reseller told Tabloid. `They're desperate to get sales, and it leaves us out of the count.' But according to NAI, it is a channel-positive company.

NAI managing director Paul Muller claims that it offers resellers `big fat margins,' and described its sales model as `push and pull'.

He claimed it is the fairest reseller program on the market and he wants the channel to know it.

The concern by resellers seems to relate to the potential for conflict with NAI's own sales staff.

`We have 15 sales representatives selling our products and services, and we will refer sales to our channel partners,' Muller said. But the silver partner said he has never received such a referral, and even had the sales department contacting his own office to renew his license.

And another source claimed that many other resellers are at boiling point with repeated instances of sales and renewals being lost to the vendor.

The issue of software renewals appears likely to be a major area of tension between vendors and their channel partners, as vendors continue to maintain sophisticated databases on end users.