Acquisitions of international distributors by US giants are threatening traditional smaller local channel operations warned the Gartner Group this week.
Two US distributors recently announced their intent to acquire European counterparts - Tech Data with Germany's Computer 2000 and CHS taking French-based Metrologie.
But at its Predicts'98 conference in Paris last week, the Gartner Group warned that when the two mega acquisitions receive approval it will cause the creation of global giants which could change the whole vendor channel relationship within three years.
Steve Brazier, an analyst at the Gartner Group, said: 'The success of the US stock market is leading to globalisation of channel companies and the message is that being a local distributor is not sustainable.'
The result of this global approach to channel operations could impact on European companies. Vendors, such as Siemens Nixdorf, will look less attractive than US and Japanese counterparts which can offer a standard product range and recognised brand worldwide.
Similarly, independent distributors and resellers will find themselves squeezed out by global deals as companies like Compaq and Hewlett Packard give worldwide contracts to recently formed channel behemoths.
'I am not sure that the idea of global IT vendors selling to multinational customers using local, privately run intermediaries can continue,' said Brazier.
However, small channel operations will still be able to offer greater support and flexibility at a regional level, particularly to small and medium enterprises. They may also be able to build on any period of instability suffered by US behemoths during integration of acquisitions and further growth.
According to Brazier, the greater capitalisation available in the US has enabled companies such as Ingram Micro, Tech Data and CHS Electronics to fund more growth than European firms.
Chief exec Jens Montanana claims Logicalis performed well despite 'currency headwinds'
All the photos from last night's event, which saw over 600 people congregate at the Hilton London Bankside
Five year deal with Essex NHS Trust will cover 400 sites, including hospitals, clinics and GP practices
18 individuals and three companies walked away as winners at CRN's inaugural Women in Channel Awards last night