Dealers blasted Dell for its arrogance and cried sharp practice after it cut its reseller numbers from 512 to less than 50 last week.
The direct seller issued letters to around 480 Vars saying they were no longer eligible to participate in the Dell partner programme. The abrupt communication informed all recipients that they will lose their partner status on 8 November 'due to either a business profile match or the level of revenue generated with Dell Partner'.
Roy Howitt, marketing director at Business Systems Group, said Dell had ridden rough-shod over resellers. 'The Dell account manager we used to have will now be selling Dell direct. This man knows all our contacts and customers - we've been completely stitched up. I find Dell's arrogance almost unbelievable.'
The man in charge of Dell's channel, Mark McCarthy, claimed Dell had acted as any other vendor would. 'Call me naive, but it amazes me the way some people run crying to the press whenever they feel mistreated.
If you don't move quickly in this game you're likely to become a casualty.
'We decided we couldn't support such a high number of Vars - how else do you think we turn out healthy results?'
One industry source said: 'Dell is like the whore of the channel - it will do business wherever it can. Dell needed resellers when it was in trouble but now it's doing well it's canned them.' McCarthy denied Dell Partner account handlers were now using dealer contacts to win direct business.
Text Systems kept its accreditation. Marketing manager Crispin Coulson said some smaller Dell dealers should be cut: 'They are just trying to keep their house in order.'
Con Mallon, marketing manager at AST, condemned Dell. 'People have long memories and it's their livelihoods that are being messed around with,' he said.
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