3Com has a new logo and a re-branded channel programme, but its relationship with enterprise resellers is still fragile after its bungled withdrawal from the high-end market.
Extreme Networks on the other hand, the vendor 3Com recommended to its high-end customers, has revised this year's business plan upwards by 25 per cent.
Resellers who attended the vendor's channel conference in Cairo last week, were told 3Com has the strongest networking brand in the industry and millions of dollars from the Palm spin-off to spend on its refocused business.
3Com has all but disbanded its direct touch sales team, with a handful left to generate business in the education and health markets. The company's contentious requirement for top-tier resellers to buy maintenance contracts with product has also been abandoned.
Former 3Com ASPs, now called Gold partners, are meeting the vendor over the coming weeks to iron out their differences. Adrian Hurel, 3Com UK's managing director, said the majority of issues with resellers affected by 3Com's exit from high-end networks have been resolved or are "contained".
Malcolm McGoogan, marketing director at Fastnet, said: "I think 3Com still underestimates the extent of customers' reactions. A number are still very unhappy." John Chapman, business development director at Westcon, said: "A lot of resellers are still smarting out there. A lot of their technology will come from alliances with other companies in the future."
Peter Titmus, managing director at former 3Com ASP Isogon, said 3Com now needs to put in place a channel programme that stays consistent over the next few years to rebuild lost confidence among resellers. Isogon has started selling Extreme Network's products.
Hurel said the vast majority of 3Com resellers were not affected by the decision to pull out of the high-end and will find they benefit from the company's improved focus. Chapman said the company's plans look promising, notably IP telephony and wireless Lan products.
David Grant, UK country manager at Extreme, said the vendor has doubled its headcount by taking on eight former 3Com employees. Extreme has "engaged with 20 3Com resellers", said Grant, 10 of which he expects to do regular business with.
First published in Computer Reseller News
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