Sony executives have admitted that the vendor has not taken advantage of its brand when operating in the storage arena, and have set the bullish target of doubling market share within the next 12 months.
Mark Lufkin, general manager sales and marketing for Sony Europe storage solutions, quoted research from IDC that showed the vendor commands about 18 per cent of the low-end tape market, operating through distribution. Hewlett-Packard (HP) dominates the sector, Lufkin said.
"HP is certainly the vendor we want to displace. We are looking to double our market share at the expense of HP, and we want to expand our reseller base to enable us to do this," he said.
Sony will split its resellers into two levels: StorStation Resellers and StorStation Specialist Resellers, under its first storage VAR programme.
Greg Strydom, channel sales and marketing manager at Sony, said StorStation Resellers will receive help with marketing and have access to online sales tools and training.
"We want to get several thousands of these [in Europe], for volume and geographical coverage," he said.
To become a Specialist Reseller the criteria are higher, involving turning over about £15,000 worth of Sony kit per month. Strydom said the firm is expecting to have only 20 to 30 Specialist Resellers.
Strydom said all resellers will go through the company's distributors, including Computer 2000, CMS, Ideal, Hammer and Micro Peripherals.
However, Strydom added: "We are looking to review our distribution strategy and want to increase reseller numbers, so we are making contact with other players, including Ingram Micro."
Paul Sangster, managing director of Hammer, was surprised by the news.
"Sony is great at innovation, but it needs to get more exposure. It doesn't market itself as well as HP does yet, but appointing another distributor isn't always the best way to get more exposure. If Sony becomes over-distributed, it doesn't necessarily mean more business, just less margin," he said.
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