Big Blue has added a third distributor to its RS/6000 channel. Ingram Micro will join Bytech and Leeds-based CST Systems a year after Metrologie was dropped from the RS/6000 programme for failing to meet the minimum quality threshold.
Despite accusations that Ingram would poach business from the existing specialist distributors, IBM channel development manager Diane Oubridge said there was room in the channel for three companies. 'It's not in our interests to have people in competition with each other. The Unix market is big enough to support three distributors, our plan is for Ingram Micro to sign up new RS/6000 resellers.'
The agreement will give Ingram pan-European responsibility for RS/6000 distribution, in tandem with the IBM PC server kit it already sells.
The smaller distributors have said they do not feel threatened by Ingram's entry into the RS/6000 market as they see their role as a more specialised one. Andrew Cloney, technical and marketing director at Bytech, said: 'Our job is to manage the Var channel. There are only about 500 real Vars in the UK and their needs are very specific. We've never tried to be the biggest and boldest in the industry, we're targeting specific areas.'
He added that as IBM was after maximum exposure from a new distributor, Ingram Micro was a natural choice. 'We see Ingram as a sensible choice from IBM's perspective. We wouldn't consider them to be an overt threat.'
IBM director of distributor sales Peter Craine said there would be unavoidable channel conflict, but hoped it would not be serious. 'In general, the bigger distributors have a major influence over the market, we've worked with Ingram on PC products and found the relationship works.'
'When you sign another distributor there will be some overlap, but we are hoping it will be of a complementary nature.'
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