Compaq's plans for a networking accreditation programme has prompted a chorus of disapproval from its channel partners, which are claiming the low revenues the products generate would not justify the cost of undertaking a scheme.
The vendor will revamp its Communications Reseller League programme to include more qualifying levels and access to the higher end products it is introducing, while distributors will also be required to complete an accreditation programme.
However, Compaq's distributors expressed scepticism about the overhaul because it meant they would also have to be accredited specifically for networking products. Historically, they have been being allowed access to the range alongside the vendor's hardware.
One distributor said: 'Compaq has about eight distributors and with revenues so small on the products, going on an accreditation scheme would not give a return on investment.'
He added: 'The vendor does not have strong branding in networking and resellers are already selling low-end commodity products '
Another distributor said: 'Compaq has a strong brand but in networking that works against it. There is a perception that margins would be as low as in hardware.'
He insisted that in order for re-sellers to subscribe to the scheme, the vendor would have to differentiate its products from those of networking companies such as 3Com, which is already strong in the low-end commodity market.
Steve Lockie, general manager of networking at C2000, said accreditation schemes 'help sort the wheat from the chaff', but warned that there would be a cost justification for Compaq's programme.
Peter Rigby, director of marketing and communications at CHS, said: 'If all partners don't go for it, the vendor will be limited on who takes the product, but if the scheme is too hard no one will sell it.'
Ian Whiting, business manager, communications product group at Compaq, said those who commit to the programme will have access to the product range, but stated: 'All distributors and resellers are entitled at the moment to sell the vendor's hardware and networking products.'
Whiting warned: 'Those who don't sign up will exclude themselves from user contracts. Those with the more complex products will need training.' He conceded the vendor lacked strong branding in networking, adding: 'We have been resting on our laurels but are gearing up to offer different products.'
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