Symantec faces a full-scale channel revolt over its decision to force resellers of one of its core products to adopt an accreditation scheme based on a franchise model.
The scheme aims to recruit 50 new or existing resellers to become fully accredited Vars of the latest version of ACT, Symantec's leading contact management software. Under the programme, resellers will be charged #50,000 to become an ACT 4 certified consultant (ACC). They will also be geographically restricted to a particular region within the UK or Ireland and will not be permitted to service customers outside their designated area. They will not be able to supply any rival products.
But a number of ACT resellers said they will refuse to sign the franchise agreement because the scheme will ruin their core business. Others said they will concentrate on pushing rival products because they could not afford the signing up fee.
Bruce Webster, MD of ACT Var Business Critique International, said: 'We have an office in Edinburgh. If we sign up to this scheme we will be unable to do business in London, for example, which would be costly. We have approached Symantec at the highest level to fight this decision.'
John Wakemen, Symantec sales and marketing director of Northern Europe, said: 'Obviously, this is quite a painful change for some of the resellers, but none have looked at the proposal in detail.'
Symantec has contracted one of its existing partners, Marketing Action, to implement the programme and take charge of recruitment and training.
But Alan Brown, MD of Brown & Company, said: 'This is an ineffectual and poorly thought out scheme being delivered by a lacklustre company (Marketing Action). It cannot be expected to compete against experienced and dedicated consultants. It's bound to fail.'
He added: 'I said to Wakeman "come see me in 12 months and we will help you pick up the pieces".'
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