Novell and IBM VARs received a boost last week after the vendors announced their top EMEA resellers will be able to benefit from each other's channel programmes.
EMEA business and ISV partners in IBM's Leaders for Linux initiative can now join Novell's PartnerNet programme free of charge, and Novell's Platinum-level partners can become members of IBM's Leaders for Linux.
"Our clients are looking for complete solutions covering servers optimised for Linux, software, installation, customisation and support services," said Henrik Schlegel, EMEA vice-president of sales and business partners at IBM.
He added that Platinum-level VARs in Novell's PartnerNet programme can gain direct access to IBM's Leaders for Linux benefits, including fully funded telemarketing campaigns for demand generation, as well as sales and marketing assistance.
Novell PartnerNet members also gain a 12-month grace period to qualify for Advanced level membership in IBM's PartnerWorld programme.
One IBM partner pointed out that Big Blue has invested from the start in Linux and sees it as the main competitor to Microsoft. "This will be an easier route for Novell VARs to sell IBM, but they will still have to be accredited on the IBM hardware, which will take time."
He added that VARs can already buy pSeries kit with SuSE installed.
IBM Linux for Leaders partners joining Novell's PartnerNet scheme can gain benefits such as training for sales and technical staff, Linux workshops and access to Novell's software.
Jack Messman, Novell's chief executive, said: "Novell has had a poor strategy for small-business management, and it behoves us to improve. In some cases we have repackaged our offering to make it easier to sell."
Richard Seibt, Novell's EMEA vice-president, said with the IBM deal there are now 1,700 Novell business partners, of which 635 offer Linux and applications.
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