Following the sad news that Psion will exit the consumer handheld market it helped to build, there was word that Apple might re-enter the personal digital assistant (PDA) market at its Macworld conference last week. At the same time, Toshiba has also revealed two new Windows CE-based Genio PDAs.
But the phrase that struck me most about Psion's move came from David Levin, its chief executive. He was reported to have said: "[The PDA market] is looking like the PC market, and PC guys are not known for sustainable margins."
While the channel knows statements like this all too well, a hell of a lot of resellers are still shifting boxes with little margin. OK, there are fewer in this business than before, but it is the service provision and value-add on top of these beige beasts that brings home the bacon.
This is an age where companies are trying to get the maximum value out of existing IT infrastructures and employees. It seems odd, therefore, that a vendor with a strong brand and loyal user base should leave a market that seems to offer companies compelling business advantage.
While Psion may look at its devices as primarily consumer machines, they are increasingly gaining momentum in the corporate space. Compaq, for example, is having some notable success with its iPaq and, in many cases, it has its resellers to thank.
This is because resellers have gone back to existing customers and offered value-add to existing infrastructures without the need to rip and replace.
Sold as an incremental benefit, along with wireless technology, the ability to connect to the corporate network while on the move is becoming more and more important. Of course, margin on product will get squeezed as products become commodities.
The challenge is to offer a route that offers services around a product to bring business advantage. And we all know who can do this.
Contingency plans follow Carillion's demise earlier this year
Oliver Tuszik says partners can boost subscription sales by taking a customer experience-led approach
Firm says enterprise business has performed 'weaker than originally expected'
Top executives from nine VARs, including Computacenter, Bell Integration, XMA, ANS and Epaton, weigh in on which server, storage and networking technologies will be red hot next year