IT DON'T MEAN A THIN' IF IT AIN'T GOT THAT SPIN ...
Nobody ever seems to say what they mean anymore. Well, certainly not Compaq anyway. The vendor has just jettisoned all but four of its 40-odd US partners from its build-to-order channel, so it can keep a lid on runaway inventory (you know, readers, the stuff that finds its way anywhere but in the hands of users reluctant to pay over the odds).
So what does the Compaq marketing machine label this bloodletting ritual?
In a moment that produced more spin than El Nino, the Distributor Alliance Program was born. Cynics may point to the logic of the remaining four (Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Merisel and Inacom) sticking together somewhat more than they are used to, but PC Squealer reckons the real distributors' alliance will probably be found in a Hewlett Packard or IBM conference room ... or in the dole queue.
BUNCH OF ARSE!
Clarity Distribution's internal sales manager Rob Billington writes to inform PC Squealer that Arsenal FC's sponsorship deal with console games giant Sega may have amusing connotations if the Gunners are drawn against an Italian side in the Champions League next season. Rob warns that we should expect to see thousands of Italians beside themselves with laughter on the terraces of the San Siro, or wherever, because Sega is apparently Italian slang for ... er ... sexual self-gratification. So we can perhaps expect chants of, 'The referee's a Sega' at any football ground that Arsenal visits next season. But there may be an element of bitterness in pointing out this titbit of humour. Perhaps, as a Spurs fan, Rob would take any stick that was thrown at his team from foreign terraces, if he only had the chance to see them play in Europe.
Landis' managing director Roger Paul should take a nervous glance over his shoulder, as a pretender to his crown of 'channel person whose character most resembles The Fast Show's Swiss Toni' has emerged. Recently, PC Squealer heard the definition of the channel as an 'amorphous mass'. This was then bettered by an analogy comparing market research with fine wine. Just as Paul would surely tell you that selling hardware is like making love to a beautiful woman, someone suggested that compiling channel research is like waiting for a fine wine to mature - at the moment it's like a new wine and not quite there, but give it a couple of years and it'll have a full body, a fine bouquet and will be deeply satisfying. Let's just hope we don't have to wait for two years, only to find it's corked and have to throw it away.
PC Squealer was surprised to receive a press release dated 11 May from monitor vendor Cornerstone, which proudly announced that it will partner Ingram Micro to distribute its fayre throughout Europe. So where does the surprise come in, we hear you cry? Towards the end of the release there's a comment from some bloke called Sandy Scott, who is apparently the managing director of Ingram Micro UK. Funny that, we thought he'd left by then - the day before, in fact.
THE INVISIBLE MAN
And speaking of amazing vanishing tricks at Ingram, where was the distributor's UK PR representative when he was due to make an appearance at a breakfast briefing attended by PC Squealer? It was a real shame because the entire PC Dealer reporting contingent was present, armed with lots of questions about the sudden departure of Mr Scott. We'd saved him a special seat at our table and everything.
It all worked out in the end though, as the spare seat was more than adequately filled by CHS marketing director Peter Rigby. It takes a brave man to share a table with seven PC Dealer journalists.
BRAVE NEW WORLD
Four intrepid volunteers are now recovering after spending the majority of last week in a Microsoft-sanctioned study to determine what people would do to earn a couple of quid. Armed with just a PC, credit card and towelling bathrobe, the guinea pigs had to spend 100 hours in solitary confinement relying on their powers of Web navigation to feed, clothe and generally amuse themselves. 'It was a doddle,' said a 20-year-old student at Sheffield University participating in a mirror experiment conducted by PC Squealer. 'The first day-and-a-half I just spent asleep and then when I got hungry I ate my dressing gown. The following day I spent most of it picking bits of towel out from between my teeth and being violently ill. On the fourth and final day I just sat and stared at the screen and had really deep thoughts about technology and stuff - no different from my usual existence.' Dr Hillary Hatchett, a consultant psychiatrist at the University of Hackney - who was in no way sponsored or paid to reach the following conclusion - said: 'The information age, and in particular the internet, is shaping the way we live our lives. If you don't know how to spend hours every day gawping at pages of pornography, checking stock quotes every two minutes and sifting though marketing drivel, you could be forced to get off your butt and go into the community in order to purchase basic food stuffs. Social interaction is just so 80s.'
BACK END OF A BUS
The busy bunnies at the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) were jumping for joy last month when they had to examine a huge picture of cyber-babe Lara Croft's buttocks. Finished drooling yet? The ASA received a complaint about a picture of lovely Lara, which had been posted on the back of a bus as part of a Tomb Raider III advert. According to the official report, the ad showed 'the rear view of a cartoon woman apparently wearing stockings and suspenders. Her buttocks were visible and she held a pistol behind her back'. The moaning Minnie claimed the image was embarrassing and that children may get the wrong idea about 'private parts'. You'll be happy to hear that in the end the ASA saw sense and decided that there was nothing wrong with Lara's rear.
IT'S STORED BY YOU, NEW YORK, NEW YORK
Hewlett Packard really decided to push the boat out at its recent enterprise storage event in New York. Instead of the usual Powerpoint presentation in a stuffy boardroom, the gathered press were treated to an all-singing, all-dancing 'show'. Staring from an elevated podium at an artificially created oasis, they were treated to the kind of effects normally reserved for Broadway musicals. The event revolved around HP's 'stress-free storage' tag, but this was nothing compared to the treats it had in store for the European hacks that evening. Continuing the chilled-out theme, they were greeted at the restaurant by a steel band and hula dancers. Silly hats had to be worn and, inevitably, exotic drinks were drunk by the pineapple-full. There were tarot card readers, face painters and a man who could write your life story in just 60 seconds and a good time was had by all. But one thing puzzled the ranks of the, by then, very relaxed Euro hacks. What did the seven-foot transvestite have to do with stress relief?
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