Lotus and Novell are looking to exploit dealer resentment in the Microsoft channel following the software giant's decision to take Select direct two months ago.
Several dealers said Novell and Lotus had paid them more visits than usual. One angry Microsoft dealer said: 'Microsoft has shown no consideration to those who can't sell Select. They're playing around with their business without acknowledging the channel. We're not interested in being dictated to.'
Another said: 'I'm ringing Novell to say we're hot to trot.'
Trevor Ward, Lotus channel manager, said: 'This is a major opportunity for the likes of us whose licensing programmes are all-encompassing.'
Novell MD Tom Schuster agreed, saying: 'We believe the channel adds value but Microsoft is trying to cut it out as much as possible. We don't set up licensing business for dealers and then take it away again.' He said that Novell had worked over the past eight months to target all dealers, including medium-sized ones, with its Partnernet programme.
MS dealers are still trying to negotiate last-minute access to the direct Lar programme. Gordon Smillie, UK manager for the corporate customer unit, defended MS' decision, saying it was working hard to defend the role of the medium-sized dealer. 'Dealers that want to be direct Lars are negotiating with us, but I am saying why don't you wait four or five weeks, until reviews are in place?'
The next version of Select and a programme for MOLP and shrink-wrapped business are due in September. It is understood dealers that do over u500,000 of business in MOLP and pre-packaged software will qualify for the latter programme.
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