Watchguard has slashed the prices of its mid-range unified threat management (UTM) appliances in the hope of kick-starting a segment of the market that appears to have stalled.

From this week, the suggested retail price (SRP) of its Firebox X Core security boxes will be reduced by around 25, one of the largest single price reductions since the company was founded in 1996.

The Firebox X Core 1250e will now cost £2,685 ($5,499), while the lower-end 750e model comes in at £1,952 ($3,999). Interestingly, the figures suggest that the company is asking resellers to take a hit on the strength of the dollar, pricing the boxes in a way that reflects current exchange rates.

Both boxes feature much higher performance, the 1250e now up to 1500Mbit/s form 300Mbit/s, while the 750e can handle 750Mbit/s, up from an identical 300Mbit/s. The company claims that the price reductions and performance hikes now make Watchguard the price-performance leader in the low to mid-range UTM space.

The company website now leads with the declaration “Faster performance, new lower prices”.

“With this latest update, we have taken significant measures to eliminate the security-for-performance trade-off that has vexed the industry,” said Watchguard’s Tim Helming, referring to reseller reports that customers have been unhappy with the performance being delivered by some companies’ UTM appliances.

Ian Kilpatrick of leading UK Watchguard reseller Wick Hill described the price move as “significant,” and said he now had greater confidence in the company’s market strategy. He agreed that UTM had acquired a reputation for disappointing performance that needed to be addressed by all vendors.

“People were burned because they were using up all the power [of the UTM] in 6-9 months,” he said, not referring directly to any particular vendor. “The problem is that a number of them did not have the ability to scale,” he said.

Watchguard is one of those rare but interesting companies that embraced the IPO fashion in the late 1990s, only to walk away from Wall Street as the pressure of sales expectations started to consume the management’s resources. In 2006, it was taken private by Francisco Partners, and has been increasing headcount and R&D ever since.

The company has since re-launched itself with an almost entirely new management team, a revamped engineering Outlook, and a new and widely respected CEO, Joe Wang. The latest aggressiveness on price is not a surprise given the task at hand, as the outfit looks to reheat its UTM fortunes.