Resellers and analysts have given a lukewarm reception to the announcement last week that BT and Hewlett-Packard (HP) plan to offer converged IT and networking packages.
The two firms have already signed a $1.5bn managed services deal that will see HP manage BT's mid-range and desktop IT in the UK, while BT will manage HP's voice and data network and product support call centres in EMEA.
However, the agreement raises questions about the role of the channel, in particular Computacenter's estimated £150m deal to provide support and services for 100,000 BT desktop users in the UK.
Anthony Miller, principal analyst and research manager at Ovum, said: "Computacenter is now the piggy in the middle and you can guess who the junior partner will be. It leaves it in an uncomfortable position."
But Mike Norris, chief executive of Computacenter, shrugged off the claim.
"The recent announcement regarding the HP and BT Global Alliance does not impact Computacenter's contract with the BT Group. It will work with BT and HP to develop IT solutions," he said.
Carlo Magistrelli, HP Services' vice-president of managed services in EMEA, said: "One of the aims will be to grow our market share in this market and channel partners will benefit."
But Darell Riddell, technology and research manager at integrator Synstar, said the two firms will have nothing to offer the SME space unless they go through the channel. "Neither of them has the resources or staff to hit the SME sector," he said.
Security firm set to become part of acquisitive Shearwater Group
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany