You will probably have had quite enough of Compaq's results and where it is going over the past two weeks, but it is an important issue for the channel. And what is happening to Compaq is a reflection on what is happening to the channel is general with PCs. It is important and it is not just about Compaq - not by any means.
One of the leading PC distributors told me recently that, in its opinion, Compaq and some of the other vendors had not thought about the market thoroughly. Dell is strong and Gateway 2000 seems to be doing well too.
Time and Tiny are doing reasonably well and so, I believe, is Amstrad's PC arm Viglen.
But the main vendors are having a bad time. 'Talk to the big guys and they are all having problems selling their stock and are starting to panic', said the distributor. And it shows no sign of getting better. Compaq said it had four weeks of stock in the channel when announcing its quarterly results. Both the distributor - part of the Compaq channel - and one former employee I've spoken to said that if it was only four weeks, that would be a relief to Compaq.
But what if it is six? Intel has been TV advertising the Pentium III for several weeks now. Dell - also hitting TV screens hard now - can build the machines to order. Compaq, even now, could have thousands of Pentium II's clogging up the channels.
Even dealers are going to the direct people. Ian Brooks, who runs IB Business Developments in South Wales, has signed up as the first Gateway authorised reseller in the country. Simon Haigh, managing director of corporate reseller Debug, said he would happily supply Dell machines if that was what customers wanted. There are other dealers who feel the same way.
Dell, for its part, says it won't seek out dealers but it won't reject approaches either. It is somewhat cagey about the deals it might do and direct is still the preferred route. But we can take it as read that Dell will offer some kind of deal if the customer wants someone other than Dell to supply its boxes.
So what are the other vendors going to do? Crawl into niches as their shares shrink? Try to maintain some volume but keep margins up and take the big sales if they come? Perhaps Compaq, if it decides to focus on the long-term aim of becoming a global enterprise player will let Dell have the top spot.
Or will it fight back? What if, as someone suggested to me, Compaq had bought Gateway instead of Digital? If Compaq can convince itself that it can be free of the restrictions placed upon it by its channel and is willing to spend some money, could it take on Dell in the direct market?
Users may start to be nervous of having too many eggs in Dell's basket and what then if Dell tries to diversify and turn itself into something other than a direct PC supplier? It's not over yet. But for the reseller, it looks increasingly insignificant which vendors come out on top in the desktop market - all that matters is that customers want their machines.
Simon Meredith is a freelance IT journalist.
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