Ross Cooley, chairman and chief executive of PCorder.com, has warned that the industry faces more change during the next 18 months than it has experienced in the past decade as the e-commerce revolution takes hold.
Cooley, formerly senior vice president and general manager of Compaq's North American operation, indicated that the average reseller margin had gone from 12 per cent in 1995 to four per cent this year.
He claimed no one in the channel was benefiting from the shift in business over the internet, except the user.
'The good old days are gone and we are the agents of change. We are going to see more change in the next 18 months than we have in the past 10 years.
We are on the cusp of big change - success for some, demise for others,' Cooley predicted.
He identified some trends occurring this year, which included reseller revenue plummeting because of the success of Dell. This, in turn, is causing manufacturers to want to gain control of their accounts, which has previously been the domain of resellers.
'The indirect channel as we know it, is at death's door. Look at IBM and Compaq. The traditional business models are going through radical overhaul,' Cooley claimed, adding that Vars need to become more service-orientated to survive.
He added: 'E-commerce is the culprit and the solution. It is more complex than people thought. Setting up a cheap Website doesn't work. You need investment in it.'
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