IBM is considering paying its channel assembly partners, after it acknowledged that any savings on costs the manufacturer makes will be borne by the channel.
The vendor was understood to be in the process of dividing its Authorised Assembly Programme so that some partners will plug processors into desktops, rather than receive them pre-installed. These assemblers would be compensated for the additional investment required. Ingram Micro has been named as one such partner.
The move comes at a time when arch-rivals Compaq and Hewlett Packard are gearing up their own channel assembly programmes.
However, Vince Smith, IBM UK's personal systems group marketing programmes manager, insisted there were currently no plans to pay partners in the EMEA region.
Kevin Bishop, IBM UK distribution manager, said the move would be in line with IBM strategy. 'We are constantly looking at our authorised assembly programme,' he said.
PC Dealer recently reported that IBM's UK channel assembly operation was facing difficulties due to problems with costing components (PC Dealer, 6 May).
David Petts, UK commercial desktops director at Compaq, said he was not surprised: 'IBM went into channel assembly because of inherent problems within the channel. My gut feeling is that its strategy to cut costs hasn't worked.'
Dave Thompson, UK marketing manager at Hewlett Packard, said the vendor had no plans to pay its assemblers.
'We already have growth targets in place for our partners and we believe the growth they are experiencing is payment enough,' he commented.
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