Tag: resellers

Microsoft: resellers coming around to cloud

clouds3Traditional resellers have been slow in embracing the cloud, with many predicting the technology was “just a hype,” a Microsoft spokesperson has told ChannelEye.

However, according to Clare Barclay, director of SMB at the company, two years later resellers are embracing market changes.

“Traditional resellers are in a competitive market with younger companies evolving far quicker,” she told ChannelEye. “Two years ago they put Cloud down to just a hype and continued with their business as it was. However, they are now changing.”

Microsoft believes cloud has changed the way resellers and the market operates, eliminating the need for cumbersome software and hardware. Savvy SMBs have also set up their business using this technology to make them appear bigger and offer their customers more services.

“Most SMBs have now realised that they need to capitalise on cloud, and offer services that put them in a position with their competitors,” said Barclay.

She also pointed out that Office 365 was enabling the company’s partners to offer more services to their customers.

“Three to four years ago customers were worried about buying into a cloud based model but now this is aggressively growing we’re seeing a number of partner engaging in monthly based subscriptions,” she said.

Microsoft said it is trying to seduce resellers into cloud confidence by offering training and events programmes to outline the benefits.

Google starts to recruit resellers against Amazon Cloud

cloud 2Google and Amazon have been scrapping it out for dominance of the skies, but now it seems that the search engine Zeppelin may be trying to recruit resellers to help out.

According to GigaomGoogle has signed up its first reseller, a company called RightScale, which is offering a “cloud management platform”.

It helps an enterprise automate routine tasks, monitor usage and monthly costs, and control security options.

As a reseller RightScale works with other major providers of Internet-delivered computing power and storage, including Amazon, RackSpace, HP Cloud, and Windows Azure. But its products have always worked with Compute Engine since Google launched the cloud service in June.

What this means is that Google has finally woken up and realised that its enterprise customers not only need someone to sell them the products, but also hold their hands if something goes tits up.
One of the difficulties that Google has had is that the company is so big, that getting information on its products, particularly when something goes wrong, is difficult.

But there are some elements of self-protection here. This partnership announcement comes a week after Amazon launched a new service called OpsWorks, which competes with RightScale. This means that by having resellers Google and the reseller can protect each other from the Amazon juggernaut.

In the long term Google will probably do better than Amazon. It has a lot more experience running Apps on the Cloud, and soon its products will be faster and cheaper but this announcement is a reminder that even super-companies like Google need resellers to get their products out there.
Google is also the new kid on the block and many corporate customers will not be aware that it is out there yet. Having a reseller pushing product is one way of raising the profile.

Markitx offers buying and selling of used IT equipment

Hands across the waterA Chicago based startup offering the opportunity to buy and sell used IT equipment within the enterprise sector has been launched.

However some resellers have stressed that the new model could account for a demise in sales from traditional channels as well as encourage the buying and selling of stolen goods.

MarkITx claims to enable enterprises to make more money from their used equipment through a buying and selling site where a pair who agree on a transaction remain anonymous to each other.

It said that this could help sellers make more money from items which are traditionally traded in or sold at rock bottom prices as company’s are in a rush to get rid of this stock.

The exchange is said to work by buyers posting what they want and what they are prepared to pay for a particular item and sellers respond with a post about what they have and the quality the product is in.

MarkITx said it also acts as a mediator, recommending prices that the stock should be sold at to ensure buyers get a fair deal.

However resellers aren’t convinced.

One told ChannelEye: “I’m not entirely sure how this works but from first glance it looks to me like its just another way to drive resellers out of the market further.

“This marketplace will clearly offer cheaper priced items, whether second hand or not, which can be sold on to consumers and businesses at a cheaper price than many of us could offer.”

Another added: “Nice idea but it sounds to me like an excuse to pick up knock off gear. Is there certification of where this came from?”

Intel Ultrabooks are the “Titanic of the 21st Century”

Der Untergang der TitanicResellers have lit into Intel Ultrabooks likening the range to the “the Titanic of the 21st Century,” and calling the products a “sinking expense.”

The comments come as resellers are still seeing bleak sales  for  these products, with some saying they can’t see a light at the end of the dismal tunnel.

Intel’s slim line babies had been touted as a lighter way to work, however, according to recent research by IDC, the company’s emphasis on its skinny form factor did it no favours as the price tag is still sky high.

However, it seems the stubbornness of the company, and its reluctance to cut prices, have angered resellers.

“Ultrabooks have really been the Titanic of the 21st Century. A disaster, and sinking expense,” one told ChannelEye today.

“It seems to me that whatever Intel does, and however much it throws at this brand, it’s just not going to take off unless it reduces prices for these ranges significantly.

“However what we’ve heard from the company hints that this isn’t going to happen, meaning we’ll once again be left with surplus stock and low margins as a result.”

Others agreed, claiming that the price point was the thorn in Intel’s side.

“Ultrabooks still aren’t doing as well as we would have liked. No one wants an overpriced laptop at the moment and the slim USP it’s got going on just isn’t attracting consumers,” another reseller told ChannelEye.

“There are cheaper, but bigger laptops that offer similar features that just make purchases more justified.”

Others have also pointed out that although the company could cash in on the upcoming holidays, consumers again would be reluctant to opt for this product with tablets offering a better price point.

“We’re hoping to see a rise in Ultrabook sales as the summer holidays come around, but it’s market. Some families who are going away will be looking for a light device that can keep kids occupied on a plane as well as act as a virtual mag/book.

“Although an Ultrabook would be perfect for this, the reality is the price points will push many to a tablet,” he added.

HP to throw $5.1 billion into the channel

HP, tindall, channel, resellers, sands conference centre, palazzo, venetianAt its Global Partner Conference event here in Sands conference centre in Las Vegas today, HP boldly said it will spend $5.1 billion on the channel, worldwide, in financial year 2013. It will cut out some channel partners.

Dan Tindall, VP of worldwide channel sales (pictured) gave what he described as an overarching account of HP’s Partner One programme on different levels, including alliances and OEM deals.

It will introduce a simplified compensation model with rebates earned from the first units sold, better rewards for specialisations, and rationalised certifications.

“Our compensation model will be easier without gates,” said Tindall. HP will give increased rebates with a “more for more” model.  Expert One is one of HP’s programme – it is cutting own 44 specialisations to 22. HP will cut down the six month model to a three month model for rebates. It will simplify the programme in 2014 fiducial year too.

Tindall said it is improving the software tools for its partners. It will do joint business plans rather than the “ad hoc model” it had before on the MDF (marketing development funds) front. Resellers will be able to close deals faster.

Alliance One is for ISVs and improving it by education, programme certifications and test and development, particularly regarding the cloud, claimed HP. It will build up communities and let ISVs get to HP stuff immediately, online.

HP Autonomy will also simplify, or rather create a partner programme. That will all change. It will have one programme across all partners.  HP is at a point where the next phase of growth is partners, who give it reach into customers. Autonomy programmes were too complicated. HP Autonomy will follow the HP model and move it channel wise before 2018.

The worldwide programme will roll out on the 1st of May. HP sees no distinction between resellers in any territory.

HP rumoured in partner margin strategy, T&C tinkering

HPHP may be hatching plans that will change the the way its resellers operate.

According to sources familiar with HP’s channel, the company could shortly be exerting pressure on resellers to shift towards higher serviced sales for the juicier rewards. There have been whispers elsewhere that the company could be making changes to its licensing terms and conditions.

However,it is unknown to what extent the rumoured changes will be rolled out.

We have heard that HP plans to make very subtle changes that could have a larger impact.

One reseller, speaking under condition of anonymity, told ChannelEye that HP is always quietly changing its T&Cs, and that channel partners have to stay vigilant as most of the time they are hidden in newsletters or buried on the company’s website.

There hasn’t been “any huge clarity on this” or any “huge pieces of information”, the reseller said.

Another said that it would not be an enormous surprise. “Suddenly we’ll see a change in our billing and when we query it we’ll be told that it was made public at this point or that point,” the source said.

While unaware of any specific change in corporate policy, another reseller added that “another change” would not be welcome, however, they would have to “go with it” and “hope there aren’t any more nasty surprises”.

Top-down decision making for the channel could also impact partners’ annual strategies, with one reseller telling ChannelEye that a proposed change would not have been “put into consideration for the year ahead” and, if true, could mean partners “end up earning less than anticipated”.

At the time of going to press, ChannelEye has approached HP for comment. A spokesperson said it is looking into the matter.

How Intel’s NUC is the thin end of the wedge

intel-nuc-minipc-designIntel is slowly expanding the distribution of its Next Unit of Computing (NuC) product which first appeared last year.

NUC is essentially a box with a motherboard inside and is designed for resellers who want to create highly customised machine builds for everything from home PCs to digital signage.

There are four basic SKUs built around the Core i3 processor inside a 4” x 4” x 2” box.

Lately Intel dumped them into its New Zealand channel which is tiny in comparison to the UK, but is an indication of how seriously the company is taking the product. Nearly 1,000 of its reseller partners have been hit to sign up to NUC.

The message that Intel wants to send is that NUC is here to stay and the outfit has an impressive roadmap for the programme. We should see Core i5 and Core i7 processor based NUCs coming out later in 2013, and better modulations for different customer segments.

This means that resellers can package them in the business segment or the consumer segment and badge them accordingly.

A basic unit ships for US$319, and includes Thunderbolt, HDMI and USB ports and options for other processors reported coming out in other markets, which will ship at a lower cost.

From Intel’s perspective this is a clever product which effectively locks in resellers to a standard pattern which it controls. From the resellers’ point of view it makes for a much easier assembly particularly for those at the low and medium end of the market. It also shuts out those motherboard makers who are not key Intel partners.

But there are obvious downsides. Companies will have to start emphasising more nebulous differences like customer service or repairs as a way of hooking customers.

Commodisation of products means that resellers have less ability to swap parts to differentiate their products and any reconfiguration will be a specialised business.

It will require specially trained sales teams who listen to what customers want rather than try and sell them the same sort of box their rivals will be trying to flog them. To do this a sales person will actually need to understand a customer’s business and carry out a lot more detailed site work.

Intel is becoming more interested in the commoditisation of its products. In fact, there is talk of further merging of graphics and CPU chips which has the advantage, for Intel, of making it uneconomic to buy a rival’s graphics card.

This will lead many resellers wondering if it is worthwhile staying an Intel partner, as they can instantly differentiate themselves by going to AMD, or even ARM, combinations.

Microsoft woos channel with Office 365

cloud 1Businesses and consumers have reached a “tipping point” in the market, leading to a huge appetite for the cloud, a Microsoft’s director of partner and strategy programmes has claimed to ChannelEye.

The company, which, over the past year has brought out a range of new products for both consumers and business, is now trying to win over resellers in the lead up to the launch of Office 365 for the commercial space.

“Last July we called the upcoming year a new wave for Microsoft,” Janet Gibbons, director of partner strategy and programme, told ChannelEye. “Not only was this because of the range of products, including Windows 8, that were launched but also the migration to the cloud.”

She said Office 365 had spearheaded this message with the home version for the first time offering a household licence for up to five devices, including Macs and tablets.

“This was a new way of consuming software,” Ms Gibbons added. “It shows how we’re going to be taking products to market.”

Microsoft says it is doing as much as it can to ensure its partners are ready for the commercial launch of Office 365, on the 27 of this month.

It has also changed the way its resellers can bill clients for the product, meaning that from 1 March resellers will be able to bill customers directly.

The current model for reselling Office 365 sees partners receive kick-back payments for what they sell, with Microsoft controlling billing. However, now resellers will be able to set their own margins and bill customers themselves.

“From a channel perspective we have advised our partners ahead of the launch so they in turn can help their customers,” Gibbons told ChannelEye. “We’re scaling this through distribution channels to target 7,500 partners, offering training and face to face meetings.”

The company has also embarked on licensing training  through December to Feb, putting on a two day event targeting 1,700 partners.

This covers other products relevant to resellers including Sharepoint and Link.

“We’re aiming to catch the market when the market is ready for new changes,” Ms Gibbons said. “From what our resellers tell us, their clients are ready.”

Pivot3 signs EMEA distie deal with Avnet

avnettsPivot3 has signed on the dotted line to make Avnet its distribution partner.

The company, which deals in converged storage and compute appliances, has said under the agreement Avnet will distribute the Pivot3 vSTAC VDIproducts to its partner network across EMEA countries.

The Pivot3 vSTAC VDI appliance family is said to make VMware View deployments easy, affordable and channel friendly for the 100 to 2,500 desktop target market.

They are also claimed to eliminate the need for specialised IT expertise to configure and integrate separate SAN storage, servers and software into a VDI solution.

Ed Bateman, director of software, Wireless and Mobility Business Group EMEA at Avnet said the partnership would give resellers a product that was “simple, scalable and cost-effective” for their clients.

In support of the partnership, Pivot3 has a VDI Channel Ready program which it claims is  designed to maximise lead opportunity and qualification for Avnet resellers and product providers in EMEA.

It provides online tools for VDI self-configuration and ROI analysis. Additionally, prospects can “Test Drive” a live, hosted 300 to 400 desktop scenario complete with workload simulation, login storms, scale-out of desktops and performance reporting. The Channel Ready program is also designed to enhance sell-through with all VMware and Microsoft license revenues flowing to the resellers. In addition, deal registration is available to partners.

The Pivot3 vSTAC VDI is available now and is already said to have caught the eye of several leading enterprises across various industries, including healthcare, education, government and financial services. List pricing starts at $29,999.

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”.

A10 Networks launches 10 partners per country programme

tenA10 Networks has launched a EMEA partner programme, which is claimed to offer a small community of committed partners more benefits.

According to the application network company, its new Ten4A10 programme will  have a maximum 10 members with one distributor, two Gold, three Silver and four Bronze, which it hopes means that partners will gain more support and be given a clearer picture of the channel landscape.

The new programme has been formed following feedback from the company’s current partners as well as the current state of the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market.

Andre Stewart, Vice President Sales EMEA for A10 Networks said that by looking at the
vendor landscape, the company had identified there was networks with an “over extended channel that was fighting over margin while selling an overpriced product.”

He said Cisco had “deserted” the ADC sector and  was pushing its channel to compete with Citrix partners in offering NetScaler, while smaller rivals such as Radware and Kemp didn’t offer in- depth products that enterprise customers required.

Ten4A10 programme means that a maximum of 10 per country will be supported directly through a channel manager with an associated set of benefits around training, support and marketing.

The company also said that it will increase margins by approximately 10 percent across all tiers with additional margin uplift through deal registration and customer reference programmes.

It has also promised an agreed set of target accounts per partner as well as free use of A10 Virtual appliance software for demonstration purposes

The new Ten4A10 strategy and supporting programme will be implemented in A10’s highest revenue producing EMEA regions including the UK, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands.

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.

Resellers salt fake reviews

fakeSuppliers have been paying computer science experts in Bangladesh, India and Indonesia to write fake glowing reviews for products on partner websites.

According to Guardian Money, fake reviewing has becoming a global business and is making the idea of customer reviews redundant.

Many offer their services to western companies on Freelancer.com, which promotes itself as an international website on which you can “outsource anything you can think of”. Companies simply post their requirements and wait for freelancers to start bidding for the work.

Guardian Money focused on fake reviews which promoted WAE+ which is a Birmingham reseller which claims to flog cheap cameras, flat-screen televisions and computers. It used to be known as We are Electricals. Last year this reseller had the distinction of being Computerworld’s most complained about company. Bogus reviews work was also carried out for a financial services company, AnnuitySupermarket.Com.

It outted “Zahed Kamal” who is a 25-year-old studying computer science and engineering at university in Chittagong, Bangladesh. He made cash on the side posting hundreds of reviews on independent consumer review websites such as Trustpilot and Review Centre. He has 11 jobs posting reviews, which, he says, will earn him £1,130 – which is a lot of dosh from where he comes from. He makes so much cash that he sub-contracts some of the work to others in India and Bangladesh.

What is tricky is that the writer needs to be able to create a unique name, email and internet provider address for each review, and make it look like it is posted in the UK. It does not take much computer expertise to do that, but it does explain why it is a nice little earner for computer science students.

WAE+ was a good example of what is going wrong with the system. Either its reviews were extremely low or extremely good.

In March 2012, an internet culture blogger called Danger Nazi Zombies Ahead (DNZA) analysed WAE+ reviews and found usernames that had posted glowing reviews were also used to post positive reviews of a small set of unrelated companies, based in different countries. Curiously those who bought from Birmingham UK with prices in pounds and thought the outfit was pretty good also bought from an American clothes shop with prices in dollars.

Guardian Money found Kamal, who said he was contracted to post reviews about WAE+ and was contacted through Freelancer.com by someone under the name of “f0rtkn0x” who was believed to be Ben Slater, operations director of WAE+.

Things went badly when someone from his company was fired, started posting bad reviews, and reported all about the reviews WAE+ got from his clients.

WAE+ insisted that there were no false reviews online about WAE+ for which it is knowingly responsible.

Kamal told the Guardian that sometimes he is contracted to put up real reviews that have been sent to a company by customers, but which haven’t been posted on the all-important review sites.
Trustpilot admitted that there was a black market for reviews and it took it very seriously. It also relies on the Trustpilot community to help identify and investigate reviews, further ensuring their quality and authenticity.

Fake reviews are illegal under consumer protection legislation. Apparently reading three negative reviews is enough to change the mind of 63 percent of consumers about making a purchase

Symantec swings axe at management, plans to rely on resellers

axeSymantec has said it will be culling management jobs as it tries to reorganise its business and save money.

Despite the company announcing a four percent  rise in its fourth quarter profits, at $1.79 billion, CEO Stephen Bennett said he was unhappy with the way the company’s management is run.

He said in previous restructuring exercises Symantec had targeted front line employees and spared the jobs of higher level staff. This meant that the company was left with “too many” layers of management, which wasn’t beneficial.

Speaking to the Dow Jones, Bennett said the axe would swing on three separate occasions, and by the end of June there would be fewer bigger jobs within the sales and  marketing sectors. The company also plans to merge some product lines, which could suggest the axe grinding here, too.

Although he did not divulge how many pink slips will be issued, he admitted the company had saved around $275 million of its budget for severance pay, which the Dow Jones reported could mean 1,500 layoffs, based on the company’s past severance spend.

Bennett said the company will rely on resellers to help it sell consolidated product lines.

However, he hinted that, as a result of a smaller product portfolio, partners could also eventually be reduced.

Intel resellers expect more training

IntelIntel’s resellers have said they are not overly concerned about the company’s latest financial figures.

However, they have pointed out that they would have liked to see more money spent on training rather than the marketing budget Intel announced in the wake of its financial announcement.

“We’d love more training but if Intel is blowing its money on marketing we’ll probably only see promotional benefits,” one software reseller told ChannelEye.

His comments come as the company announced that it would be throwing $18.9 billion on research and development, along with marketing and administrative costs, this year, an increase from 2011 when it spent $16 billion in this sector, and  up from $18.2 billion last year.

However, that was the only good news for Intel’s resellers and stakeholders with the company
announcing that its profits were down 27 percent in the last quarter.

The company reported  a net income of $2.5 billion, down 27 percent from $3.4 billion, a year earlier. Revenue fell three percent to $13.5 billion from $13.9 billion.

However, resellers weren’t phased, hinting they’d been given advance warning.

“Software sales for us have been ok, but we were sent an email two weeks ago warning us of these figures.

“We’re not worried, a bit of pressure from the top is something we can easily handle,” the software reseller added.

Another continued the sentiment and support for the company, claiming: “It’s not affected us up to this point.

“We’ve still gained support and training as promised. I assume there will now be pressure however to ensure we sell as much as possible. Maybe Intel should invest more in products and training, which would help us sell more and boost revenues.”

In the last six months, shares of Intel have fallen about 18 percent. Although this could be put down to the economic climate, it is more likely that the company has failed to impress with its shiny, all dancing Ultrabooks, which retailers yesterday said were still stagnating on shelves as a result of consumers demanding higher spec features over fashion based products.

And while some resellers have stayed loyal to their mother ship, one was a little bit more outspoken telling ChannelEye:  “The news isn’t the best, of course it’s not. But the fact that the company has said it will be spending more on development and marketing can only be a good thing for us. Whether or not there’s more pressure on us to work harder to tighter margins remains to be seen.

“In terms of training, we do receive a fair bit but some of it is expensive. What we need is free workshops that have been taken out of a budget somewhere. However I doubt that’ll happen anytime soon.”