After almost a year of fruitless discussions, smaller retailers have called on Microsoft to get serious about the independent channel after detailing their woes with product availability and repairs.
In June last year, the Independent Trade Associations of Computing Specialists (Itacs) reported that Windows Certificate of Authenticity stickers were fading or peeling off, leaving members unable to perform repairs. Shortly after, Microsoft opened dialogue with Itacs and Gary Fowle, OEM director for Microsoft UK, claimed the vendor is “working with Itacs on this specific issue to understand how we can support them and avoid further issues”.
But Matthew Woolley, Itacs chairman and owner of Forum Computers, revealed nothing has changed.
“In all the emails I have received from Microsoft, not one has addressed the domestic market. It is about time they embraced it,” he said. “Microsoft is our bread and butter and we love selling its products.”
CRN understands a repair toolkit, which would nullify the sticker problem, is only available to resellers with 10 or more Windows licences.
One retailer also told CRN independents have not been afforded access through distribution to the Windows 7 upgrade version.
“We can only buy the OEM version,” said the retailer. “The upgrade is only going through the big boys.”
David Thornton, owner of DRT Technologies, is another smaller retailer to call on Microsoft to embrace the independent channel.
“A lot of customers trust [independents] and see us as laptop experts,” he
“We do not want to be forced into recommending the Google operating system.”
Itacs is urging disgruntled retailers to get in touch and support its campaign at [email protected].
Fowle said: “Our channel is very important to us and we are always looking at ways to better engage.”
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