3Com will cut its distribution partners this quarter in the next phase of the channel streamlining process it kicked off last year.
Kevin Vine, general manager of SME, consumer and distribution at 3Com, admitted that the vendor was oversupplied, but would not be drawn on how many partners it was planning to axe.
Vine made the revelation last week following the appointment of Sphinx CST as Cisco's fourth UK distributor. He said the appointment, which comes into effect on 2 August, would spell the end of 3Com's relationship with Sphinx.
Vine said: "Our relationship with Sphinx has not been working. Originally, the agreement was with Globelle and our association with it was very good, but following its acquisition by Sphinx, the focus on 3Com disappeared."
Philip Wright, distribution account manager at Cisco, added: "Sphinx is committed to a single networking vendor strategy."
But Mike Briercliffe, managing director of Sphinx, denied the Cisco appointment would end its partnership with 3Com despite being frustrated by the vendor's overcrowded distribution channel, which had prevented Sphinx from expanding its franchise beyond remote access products.
He said: "Sphinx is committed long term to the relationship for the line of products we currently distribute. My view is that the Cisco and 3Com product lines can live together very well."
Sphinx has established a business unit - dubbed Netchannel - to handle all Cisco sales, pre-sales and marketing activities.
Briercliffe predicted that in its second year of operation, Net-channel would produce similar revenue to Sphinx's existing IBM-dedicated and multi-vendor business units which both generate about £50 million annually.
According to Wright, Sphinx was also chosen because of its relationships with complementary vendors such as Oracle and IBM, and because of its strong presence in the north of England.
Dick Haynes, general manager of Landis, one of several distributors which applied for the Cisco franchise, said: "It's a surprise to me that Sphinx was chosen because I didn't think it was particularly strong in the SME space and that's the area Cisco is targeting."
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