Hewlett Packard's reseller agreement with Dell to sell its printers and scanners in the US and its threat of copying the model worldwide are being met with disbelief by UK distributors.
Direct vendor Dell will be allowed to shift all HP's hardcopy products, extending its current reselling of low-end HP printers. The agreement has been built on the back of a pilot programme that began in March, with Dell's direct salesforce offering HP printers to its corporate customers.
But Peter Rigby, UK director of marketing and communications at CHS Electronics, said he was not aware of any plans for HP to sell direct to Dell. In the UK, CHS has exclusive rights from HP to service Dell for its Dellware catalogue.
Rigby said: 'I don't know what HP will gain by going direct. We're not concerned about it because at the moment we have a full EDI relationship with Dell.'
Andy Dow, general manager of peripheral business at Computer 2000, also said he did not believe the model was about to be released in the UK.
'I don't see it as a trend that HP will use globally,' he said. 'It's not relevant in the UK. It doesn't worry me because of the different model used in the US.'
He stressed that working with Dell US was different because of the much wider distribution base established in the UK.
Peter Crane, marketing manager at PSM Microcomputers, said: 'If Dell undercut the channel by dealing with HP, HP will lose a lot of goodwill in the channel. It will be just another knife in the back.'
Watford Electronics managing director, Nazir Jessa, was one of the few resellers to welcome the move: 'The more the merrier. There is a huge market for the products. I have no objection to Dell as we can give a better level of service.'
HP UK was unavailable for comment.
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