Computer Associates (CA) has denied that it plans to open a UK version of the direct-selling web site it launched in the US last week targeting the SME market.
CA partners on both sides of the Atlantic were baffled by the US move because the vendor had vowed to grow its SME business through indirect channels. But it is an increasing trend for vendors to sell both direct online and indirect through resellers.
Richard Bradley, head of indirect channels at CA UK, stressed that CA plans to boost its indirect business from 10 per cent of sales to 50 per cent. "The store is a US-only initiative. We have no plans to introduce that as part of the mix in the UK. We have other things to do," he said. A similar statement was made by Sun channel boss Philippe Web in July, when the vendor started selling direct through eBay in the US. One month later, Sun UK boss Gary Nugent admitted he was "keeping an eye" on the US venture.
Kate Hembury, sales and marketing director at online VAR WStore, said that CA's software was best sold through VARs who could provide support.
"Regardless of whether the web store is going to come here or not, if this is the only way CA can approach the SME market it doesn't say much about the channel," Hembury said.
Alex Tatham, vice-president of software at Bell Microproducts, said an online store would be logical for CA. "Network Associates and Symantec both have one, so why shouldn't CA?"
Bradley confirmed CA is developing its SME retail business. Yet CA's US store sells enterprise products, including Unicenter and BrightStor software.
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