The newly consolidated Zenith Data Systems is to shift its model to two-tier distribution in Europe after emerging from the union of NEC and Packard Bell under the auspices of Bull.
Michel Motro, a vice president of Packard Bell/NEC Europe, said he had already signed Italian, French and German distributors, and hoped to sign a UK partner last Friday.
ZDS has consolidated the NEC PC division, formerly based in Acton, and rolled it into its product line, which now includes notebooks, desktops and servers.
The division will leverage Bull expertise at the server level, said Motro.
'We need distributors to match large corporate accounts and when we look at that, Bull covers some, but not all, so we're approaching it country by country.
'We have major partners to cover Vars and dealers, and we will continue to support them in terms of marketing and technical support.'
Motro said that ZDS formerly sold 50 per cent of its products direct, but claimed the new model would mean most business will go through the indirect channel.
He said ZDS will use Packard Bell's support network for its server range, but rejected criticisms levelled against it by users for the past year.
'What's happened to Packard Bell is not that the service was bad, but that Bill Gates put too much protection into Windows 95,' he claimed.
'All the people who had a problem installing W95 called us. At one point we had 80,000 calls a day.'
While Motro recognised that Compaq already had considerable market share in the high-end server market, Motro claimed that ZDS, with its NEC-built machines, bit into its pie.
'NEC won back market leadership from Compaq in one year in Japan,' he said.
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