IBM has extended its controversial Buydirect campaign to France because of the scheme's success in the UK.
Doug LeGrande, European personal systems group general manager at IBM, the Middle East and Africa, said Big Blue will implement a direct sales model across Europe following last year's successful UK launch.
He insisted that the campaign had won over a significant number of new customers because it had made it easier for individual users and small businesses to buy products that they had difficulty finding before.
He also said the campaign has had a positive effect on resellers, helping to stimulate increased demand for products. "Our feedback tells us that it's helping resellers," he said. "We are happy with the project."
LeGrande said IBM will continue to expand the number of products it sells directly, but that it is unlikely to allow UK resellers to buy directly from the Buydirect website - a move that will soon be implemented in the US.
"It's not impossible that we won't, but we already have 600 business partners that deal directly with IBM in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. In the US, that figure is in single digits," he said.
LeGrande said IBM will unveil several initiatives and products over the next few months to stimulate demand for its PC products. This will include a programme that allows resellers to select and pre-configure desktops, Thinkpads and Netfinity servers for consumers and small businesses which will be delivered within nine days of ordering.
He said that while first quarter revenue for the personal systems group had fallen, IBM will continue its efforts to lower its channel inventories and improve the channel's efficiency.
Last week Big Blue posted a turnover of $19.3bn for the first quarter ending 31 March. This is a five per cent drop from the same period last year when it posted revenue of $20.32bn, and comes amid declining sales of desktop computers and mainframes and flat growth by IBM Global Services. Profit increased from $1.47bn to $1.52bn.
Hardware sales plunged by 12 per cent while global services and software revenues were a flat nine per cent and three per cent respectively. The decision to leave the retail PC business cost the company $400m.
First appeared in Computer Reseller News
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