Specialist Computer Holdings (SCH) has been signed up by IBM for the vendor's authorised assembly programme (AAP), jeopardising Northamber's dominant position in the UK as the premier assembler.
The agreement has intensified competition among rival PC manufacturers - in conjunction with their channel partners - as they gear up their channel assembly programmes to eradicate the problem of excess inventory and delivery delays.
Computacenter will sign on to Hewlett Packard's channel assembly programme (CAP) on 16 April, in Grenoble, according to the vendor.
Coincidentally, Mike Lunch, IBM's former director of its advanced fulfilment initiative (AFI), began his duties as MD of SCH's reseller arm, Specialist Computer Centres (SCC), on 15 April.
According to Lunch, both SCC and SCH distribution arm ETC will be integral to the assembly of PCs for IBM. He disputed he had played any role in the sign-up with IBM. James Rigby, an associate director of SCH, will co-ordinate the operations on behalf of the firm.
'My role was almost nothing. I was on gardening leave when it was signed.
The decision was taken by Doug Le Grand, Bill McCracken and Bill Moffat.
It was a decision not taken within the UK,' Lunch said.
Phil Williams, head of corporate marketing at Computacenter, said he was not surprised by SCH's appointment by IBM, 'given its recent recruit'.
He added: 'But we're a pioneer of the programme and have been working with IBM and HP for some time. We feel we have a lead and an experience curve and intend to exploit that with HP.'
According to David Griffith, HP channel marketing manager, Ingram Micro was in a pilot programme with the vendor to assemble Unix workstations.
'There is no set date for any Intel-based assembly, or for the Unix programme to go live,' he said.
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