Tag: distributors

Disties lose their rag with Lenovo

lenovo_hqThere’s a dynamic in the channel between vendors, distributors and what we used to call dealers but are now forced to call resellers for politically correct reasons.

The basis of that dynamic is the cold fact that they all hate each other. The vendors hate the disties, the disties hate the vendors, the dealers hate the disties and the vendors, the disties hate the dealers. The consumers just, hopefully, buy stuff.

So here at the Canalys Channel Forum (CCF) we were pleased to observe quite a degree of upset at Lenovo for, in the 1990s jargon, “stuffing the channel”.

What that means is several distributors I have talked to here have clearly indicated that they have piles of Lenovo products in their warehouses that not only aren’t selling that well but continue to be delivered to their distributors, willy-nilly.

These sources from various distributors decline to be named, for obvious reasons, but have clearly indicated that they suspect the same thing is going to happen on the X86 server front too.

Lenovo could not be contacted at press time because it’s 05:42 in the morning here in Barcelona and we’re just waiting for breakfast to start.

We’re sure we’ll have our share of nibbles later in the day.

Quantum creates channel cloud services

Clouds in Oxford: pic Mike MageeData management firm Quantum said it has introduced a new channel programme.

The programme – aimed at managed service providers (MSPs) and value added resellers (VARs) offer a cloud back up service using Quantum’s virtual dedupe appliances and vmPro back up software.

The programme uses capacity based, all software subscriptions services which lets VARs and MSPss brand, market and sell Backup as a Service (BaaS).  The offering scales as revenue grows and so Quantum thinks that reduces up front capital hardware expenses.

The programme includes online sales and pre-sales training at no charge; customisable matering material; free access to Quantum software for trial and demonstration and technical and support training.

SME supply chain initiative welcomed by disties

Hands across the waterDisties have cautiously welcomed plans for big retailers to allow SMEs into their supply chains.

The plans, which are being spear-headed by Business In The Community (BITC), wants companies across the UK to commit to making their contracting processes and procedures more amenable to smaller companies.

According to the charity, 99 percent of businesses are SMEs.  It said that since 2008, nine out of ten unemployed people who have found work in the private sector have been employed by SMEs, pointing out that in the current economic climate, successful partnerships between large and small businesses have never been more important.

BITC now wants signatories to the ‘access pledge’ promise to make their business, fair and simple, transparent, on a level playing field, and open, for all suppliers.

It already has committed Goldman Sachs to making its contracts more accessible by  reducing the costs to SMEs of bidding by paying for the majority of vendor screening activity itself.

Asda, which is focusing on boosting the ethnic diversity of its supply chain, and Santander, which has made all non-disclosure agreements valid for 12 months for any deal they bid for, are among the other companies cited by BITC.

Disties have welcomed the moves but have also been sceptical.

“It’s a good idea and it’s pleasing to see that big companies are taking part of these initiatives,” one told ChannelEye.

“However, whether it’ll actually be taken up properly and after the press has died down, remains to be seen. Somehow I don’t think we’ll see much publicity,” he added.

Another shared a similar outlook.

“Making transparency in the supply chain can only be a good thing. However, big brands are all over this trying to show they are making a difference.

“The problem here is that smaller businesses trying to make a change could be swamped and therefore competition is already stifled,” he added.

Disties stick up for Windows 8

Windows-8A recent report laying a fair chunk of blame on Windows 8 for the demise of PC sales has been queried by distributors.

Speaking with ChannelEye the sources have said it was unfair to lay the blame just on Microsoft and Windows 8, pointing out other factors such as Apple kit and the ongoing economic crisis.

Their comments come as IDC published its latest Worldwide Quarterly PC Tracker, where it pointed  the finger at Windows 8 for disrupting the market in tough trading conditions.

It found that shipments totaled 76.3 million units in the first quarter of 2013, a decline of 13.9 percent compared to the same quarter in 2012.

The Windows 8 launch was blamed partly for the decline. Bob O’Donnell, IDC Programme  Vice President, Clients and Displays said it not only failed to provide a positive boost to the PC market, but had also slowed down the market as a result of the “radical changes” to the UI. This included the absence of the Start button, plus the costs associated with touch had made PCs a less attractive alternative to dedicated tablets and other competitive devices.

However, disties have stuck up for the company.

One told ChannelEye: “I don’t think it’s fair to put all the blame on Microsoft for disrupting the market, PC sales were flagging long before it bought out Windows 8 to the forefront. If you really want someone to blame then look towards Apple, which has totally changed the landscape with its fancy products.

“It’s tablets, not PC innovation that’s disrupted the pace of PC life.”

Another pointed to the economic climate, saying the recession has a huge part in the slow growth and decline of PC sales as consumers opt for laptops that can be used by everyone in their family.

“Businesses are also cutting down on IT spend, usually opting to repair or reuse their current kit,” the distie said.

However, there were a few choice words for Microsoft’s OS.

“Windows 8 has a small part to play in the way it has disrupted the landscape, offering people touchscreen products and making older, less feature-based PCs seem less glam,” the distie said. “Maybe people are waiting for other operating systems to come out mimicking this, hoping that competition will drive down the prices and get them the bargain they are looking for.”

Budget will have knock on effect on disties

ossyThe dreaded UK Budget could have a negative impact on margins in the industry, distributors have said.

With the UK teetering on the brink of a triple-dip recession and the country’s once-cherished AAA credit rating lost, the Budget, set to be announced on Wednesday is expected to bring bad news to businesses.

Chancellor George Osborne has already said the Budget will contain measures to “help those who aspire to work hard and get on” but would also set out the scale of further curbs on public spending from 2015.

Distributors have also suggested Osborne will once again announce rises in fuel as well as on metals, both factors that could cause ripples in the channel.

One told ChannelEye: “The budget is always a time everyone dreads. If we’re talking from a business perspective then there’s a lot that we can look forward to. Firstly is probably a rise in fuel costs, which of course will have a detrimental impact on our business, meaning we’ll have to raise costs for our customers.

“Components, especially those with certain metals will also rise, meaning suppliers will either have to raise their costs or, in an unlikely case, keep costs the same and risk smaller margins. Either way it’s not good,” he added.

Another distie also shared the same views, embellishing on the components that could be affected, telling ChannelEye: “Every year the budget has some impact on us and our clients. Some metals, be it iron or copper could be taxed at a higher price meaning suppliers will have to raise their costs having both a knock on effect on the channel and the consumer, who I imagine will also be facing more financial issues due to other parts of the budget.

“However, this may also drive more competition with suppliers trying to keep costs low. This means it’ll drive down lower prices which will affect our margins.”

Others were however, more concerned about fuel costs, claiming that this would be the
“biggest problem for [the industry],” as they just kept “rising and rising”.

“Possibly component prices but I don’t think this will have as much impact as petrol costs,” he told ChannelEye.

“Either way it’ll mean we, and clients will be putting prices up to ensure we keep to our profit margins.”

However, others were less concerned taking a more “Ce la vie” approach.
“It’s not all bad,” one said.

“Yes, there will be price hikes in fuel and components. But, this is all relative to the way inflation works. Everything is going up, it’s the way of the climate. I think people are almost expecting to having to pay more, whether that has a knock on effect on what they buy remains to be seen.”

Computerlinks becomes B2B Kaspersky distie

kasperskylogoDistributor Computerlinks has won a contract to sell Kaspersky Lab’s portfolio with a view to drive growth in the B2B market.

Kaspersky hopes this strategy will boost the company’s routes to market as well s increasing its presence in the UK. Computerlinks will offer channel partners Kaspersky’s Endpoint Security for Business as a key asset in its security portfolio.

Endpoint Security for Business lets companies both control and protect on site devices as well as cutting resource demands on IT teams, bringing mobile device management, data protection, systems management, and endpoint under one management console.

Director for B2B sales and marketing at Kaspersky Lab, Matthew Robinson, said that Computerlinks’ experience in value-add will prove “invaluable” to customers and channel partners.

He added that Kaspersky’s new strategy, which focuses on a full value model running along with the existing volume business, will keep Kaspersky “at the forefront of the evolving channel landscape”.

Computerlinks’ director of core technologies, David Caughtry, said that the deal is part of Kaspersky’s “exciting stage of growth”.

Intel imposes pay freeze on staff

IntelThings are looking more than a little shaky at the Intel Corporation  with claims of pay freezes and vacancies left unfilled.

Last month the company announced that it had seen profits take a nose dive dropping 27 percent in the last quarter, net income stood at $2.5 billion from the $3.4 billion, a year earlier, while the company’s revenue took a hit falling three percent to $13.5 billion from $13.9 billion.

At the time the company claimed that it was striving to do better and award its stakeholders with fatter margins the next time round, but it seems clawing some of the cash back is falling at the expense of its UK staff.

Sources within the company told ChannelEye: “There’s been talk of pay freezes, while [vacancies] that have been left open for months have yet to be filled.”

Some departments were facing a losing battle as a result.

“There’s also been more pressure on both [sales and marketing] departments to perform better, which, without the right support and staff count has been hard, but that’s obviously the demons that we have to deal with rather than for the top level staff.”

The source also said neither marketing or sales departments were seeing any of the marketing budget Intel had promised to throw at this area when it announced its financials.

This year the company earmarked $18.9 billion on research and development, along with marketing and administrative costs, an increase from 2011 when it spent $16 billion in this sector, and up from $18.2 billion last year.

“When Intel said it would be spending more on marketing last month, I don’t think it really meant its staff in this sector and in sales,” ChannelEye heard.

“I think it was more for its products – namely Ultrabooks – and other shiny toys that would appeal to consumers.

“There’s however only so much we can do to promote the Ultrabook, and feed exciting, engaging info to resellers and consumers when we haven’t got all the tools to do it”.

ChannelEye launches and injects zest into the supply chain

Hands across the waterPrakasha Publishing Ltd has launched a title designed to inform, educate and entertain the influential supply chain in the United Kingdom.

ChannelEye, (channeleye.co.uk) is edited by industry veteran Mike Magee. The editorial team that launched another channel title this time last year, will upset the apple cart and provide hard hitting news, interviews and pithy comment that reflect the concerns of distributors, resellers and the rest of the community.

“It’s high time that stuffy, old fashioned channel magazines whether online or in print are consigned to the dustbin of history,” Magee said.  “The supply chain continues to be essential to deliver vendors’ offerings to end users.  We will break the mould and deliver essential information to the key players in the market.”

“This is a fantastic development for IDG” suggests Jonny Busse, head of the IDG Tech Network. “Commercially representing this website will now allow IDGUK a strong presence in this important marketplace with ChannelEye offering a clean and unique style coupled with hard hitting content”

In addition to news, ChannelEye will cover wider matters including reviews, interviews with key players, moves in the industry, product information, gossip, and sparky, solid information. Avoiding re-cycled press releases, ChannelEye will avoid business jargon that only marketers understand, and will deliver gritty and realistic depictions of stuff that matters to the channel.

About Prakasha Publishing Ltd.  Prakasha, headed by CEO Mike Magee, already publishes well respected technology title TechEye.  Founder of both the Register and the Inquirer, Magee was listed as the 35th most influential person in UK technology by the Daily Telegraph.  He can be contacted at mike.magee@channeleye.co.uk  He brings on board a team of journalists that has close contacts in the channel and the wider IT community.