ICL's distributors have demanded equal treatment with wholly-owned subsidiary Technology after the manufacturer admitted giving it preferential prices.
Jim McManus, ICL sales manager, flinched as Gavin Biggs, finance director at Logitek Distribution, and Bryn Sage, sales director at Leeds-based Storm hit out at its channel policy at an ICL dinner at Cebit last week.
Biggs said ICL had given cut rates on 7,000 end-of-line PCs to Technology to clinch deals with the DSS and other large corporate customers at the beginning of March this year, while other distributors were left unaware of the opportunity.
Sage agreed that Storm was unhappy with Technology being given opportunities that other distributors were denied. He said the channel needed to be reassured that it would have a level playing field with Technology and that he'd thought channel conflict with ICL was a thing of the past.
Jeff Harris, marketing manager at Logitek, said: 'Obviously there's no doubt that we're not happy. It was a deal done with no one else in the channel being aware of it.' ICL should have given the whole channel the opportunity to buy into the deal, which involved end of line PCs, he said.
McManus defended his company's channel strategy. He told the two distributors he would take steps to ensure the problem did not happen again.
Harris said that his company hoped the problem was a blip. 'While we're less than happy about what's happened, it's not typical and ICL has been ethical over the last 12 months,' he said. 'It's a radical change from how ICL behaved two years ago and we hope that it's a one-off.' Two weeks ago ICL CEO Keith Todd announced a restructure which saw ICL volume products relinquished to parent Fujitsu. ICL retained control of Technology.
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