IBM Europe is at risk of alienating the UK's biggest reseller if it proceeds with plans to sign a pan-European distributor to assemble its kit.
Martin Hellawell, head of marketing at Computacenter, said he had recent discussions about assembly, but the vendor was still only talking in broad terms. 'I would be surprised if IBM went through distributors for assembly before us because we do more business with them.'
Computacenter proposed similar plans three years ago but got nowhere.
IBM first said it planned to allow channel partners to assemble its PCs last year (PC Dealer, 22 November 1995).
'The idea was they shipped us the chassis, the hard drive and other components and we'd make a system,' said Hellawell.
IBM expressed fresh interest in the idea following its business partner initiative, pushed by chairman Lou Gerstner, last spring. Hellawell said: 'If IBM gets this process to work they'll bring savings to each side.
One of the things that we're most experienced at is unpacking and repacking boxes.'
Computacenter wants its other suppliers, including Compaq, to offer the scheme. Hellawell had previously said that whoever lands such a deal would have an immediate business advantage.
An IBM Europe representative said: 'There have been pilot schemes in Europe but we are not ready to announce anything yet.'
He refused to name any of the partners that IBM has had talks with, but said they included distributors and resellers.
Struggling security titan makes three board appointments after investor took 5.8 per cent stake last month
Commvault ousted its CEO in May and has since undergone a radical refocus
As employees demand more flexible working environments, CRN asks how the channel is adapting to the changing working landscape
Wall Street less than impressed with Oracle's growth as cloud numbers remain hidden