Many of Compaq's 30 or so direct resellers may lose out as the vendor pushes more of them to buy from distributors.
Only weeks after the company announced it would be offering more support to dealers that source products through the distribution channel, Compaq is now looking to cut back on the number of resellers it has accounts with.
Last month the vendor launched Competitive Edge, a programme designed to pass marketing support to smaller dealers and resellers.
At the time, the company said it was standing by its indirect channel, which it felt may have been neglected. Sources in the channel now say they see Competitive Edge as a sweetener as Compaq prepares to push resellers toward buying from distributors.
Martin Hellawell, Computa-center's head of marketing, said that any further reduction in the number of resellers it deals with on a direct basis was just an extension of Compaq's policy in the past.
'Everybody's doing it,' he said. 'Compaq has been reducing its number of direct accounts for a couple of years. This practice will probably continue until only the largest two or three direct reseller accounts remain.'
No one from Compaq was available to comment as PC Dealer went to press.
Another channel source said that IBM's channel model was dictating the way in which other vendors were redesigning theirs. 'A lot of manufacturers are following IBM's lead. IBM managed to get through the changes very smoothly because it didn't remove the marketing support that dealers need.
Compaq will have to do likewise if they are to stay lean and competitive,' the source said.
Last year Compaq raised the revenue threshold to make it harder for some dealers to buy direct, and is likely to repeat the process in 1997.
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