Industry giants Hewlett Packard and IBM have come under fire from channel partners, which claim they have been undercutting them on deals.
Both vendors have strong direct salesforces, which are in place to handle high-volume corporate accounts. But according to several VARs that contacted CRN, the direct sales teams are targeting areas traditionally covered by the channel.
Hugh Byrne, managing director of VAR Premier Computer Supplies, said he has lost out on deals because of the two vendors undercutting his firm on price.
"A reseller cannot compete with a manufacturer," he told CRN. "I know both vendors are running scared of Dell, but they are not solving the problem by picking up the cream of everybody else's business. Many VARs I have spoken to know this goes on, but just tend to accept it."
Paul Barlow, managing director of HP VAR Equanet, agreed. "We are aware of this situation and are actively engaging with HP to try and find a way around it," he said.
One VAR, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "When a partner comes up against a direct arm it is very hard to compete. Neither vendor is meant to engage with a customer if a reseller is involved, but this is not always the case. They are meant to be attacking Dell, but they seem to be attacking partners."
Both vendors reaffirmed their commitment to the channel.
Andy Vickers, UK and Ireland SMB channel director at HP, said: "There is no point offering customers anything that is self-defeating and that upsets our channel partners. I want our channel to be successful and if any partners are unhappy they should contact me and I will investigate."
Karen Williams, IBM Personal Computer Division marketing manager north region, said: "We are very committed to the channel. Business partners are key to providing local support for regional businesses. They are vital to ensuring our success in this marketplace."
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