Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy has admitted that channel conflict forced the workstation giant to fold its direct sales catalogue arm, Sun Express, into its operation.
In a leaked memo, McNealy admitted that the decision to reduce the direct sales arm?s profile among customers would help Sun ?present one face to the customer, and reduce any perception of confusion or channel conflict in the field?.
The decision has been applauded by UK channel players. Shaun Oxenham, operations director at Relay Business Systems, said: ?It will make a big difference ? Sun Express used to compete against the reseller base and undercut it on software pricing. We personally have had times when we?ve been undercut by Sun Express 10 or 15 times a month. This may not solve the problems altogether, but it will start to clear up the relationship.?
Another source said: ?The problem was that it tended to sell into our biggest accounts, and these customers end up talking to it when they should talk to us.?
Other UK channel players said Sun Express had been very efficient in dealing with product shortfall. Andrew Morris, Sun divisional director at Morse Computers said: ?The Sun Express team sell very well and people like buying from it. We?ve often bought from Sun Express.?
McNealy said a ?transition team? had been created to ?leverage the core competencies of Sun Express?. The team is expected to include Sun Microsystems president Ed Zander and Sun Express president Dorothy Terrell. A Sun US representative said the move would have no impact on jobs, and would not affect Sun?s planned site in Burlington, Massachusetts.
Without Sun Express as a separate unit, the manufacturer has six units remaining: hardware SMCC, software Sunsoft, value-added unit Sunservice, Sparc processor vendor Sun Microelectronics and R&D operation Sun Laboratories.
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