Sun Microsystems is to expand its UK distribution channel beyond current partner TPLC with the appointments of GE Access and Clarity, and looks set to add more.
Sources familiar with both companies confirmed that contracts with Sun had been agreed on, but neither knew when Sun was likely to announce the deals officially. A source close to TPLC also said that it had been approached by both companies about acquiring stock.
Sun, which was expected to reveal details of the contracts in April, then again last month, once more declined to make a formal statement.
However, Gordon Cameron, Sun's UK and Ireland distribution manager, confirmed that the vendor was likely to appoint more than two new partners. "We're looking at announcing three to four master resellers," he said. "Under law, if someone meets our minimum requirement, we must give them a contract. We'll integrate more players as we need more specialisation or more coverage."
Computacenter, Morse and Avnet are expected to compete for the remaining contracts.
Clarity has long been linked with the business after the defections of a number of TPLC employees, including Simon Welsh, marketing manager, and Paul Denton, reseller account manager. GE already deals with Sun in the US, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Belgium.
Steve Brazier, an analyst at Canalys.com, said: "There is a natural evolution where logistics will split from sales, and Sun now has specialists covering both bases. However, I would expect them to appoint more. You cannot ignore the claims of Computacenter and Morse, while Avnet could also be a strong contender."
But Brazier shied away from broadliners Computer 2000 and Ingram Micro. "Their skill sets are not compatible, and Sun would get more attention from a specialist," he said.
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