Training material supplier PDI has pulled itself round after losing its contract with Microsoft to provide courseware for its training centres.
The contract is being phased out by the end of this month and its withdrawal will lose PDI in the region of 70 per cent of its core business (PC Dealer, 27 May).
PDI now plans to become an online training provider, taking the fight to traditional training centres with the launch of a service called CourseSource.
Gwyneth Matthews, PDI marketing manager, claimed that the 'world's first online training materials supermarket' would dominate the #100m third-party courseware sector.
'The third-party market is fragmented, with no single leading player.
It is our intention to provide a supermarket approach to supplying third party courseware.
'We will offer everything from professional courses approved by the leading software vendors, the best from independent writers, to self-learn courses and manuals for the retail market,' she added.
This move will bring PDI into direct competition with Microsoft, which dumped PDI and signed up German publishers Bertlesmann.
CourseSource, due to launch on 3 August, will be linked to PDI's production system which turns out more than 50,000 courseware packages a month.
It also offers corporates personalised training material, including the use of security and anti-duplication print techniques.
PDI has teamed up with a number of training publishers to put together the CourseSource service, including Macmillan Computer Publishing, Cisco Press, Sun Java Certification, Informix Press, Borland Press, Ziff-Davis Press, Adobe Press and Lycos Press.
Wendy Botwright, Macmillan corporate consultant, said: 'We see e-commerce as a valuable delivery mechanism for our range of publications. We'll be working with PDI to develop the package through the internet.'
The decision to sideline PDI was described by one insider as a complete surprise: 'PDI is devastated, but we're working away and life goes on.'
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