Hewlett Packard has ended a long-standing contract with Ingram Micro to deliver its products on the Unix platform, resurrecting questions over the ability of broadline distributors to add value in high-end systems.
The decision leaves HP with just one UK Unix products distributor, PSL and mimics a similar move in the US where the vendor has recently trimmed its Unix distributors from five to just two.
John Young, UK channel and partner manager at HP, said: "We have been reviewing our channel over the past six months and found that some Unix resellers, especially multivendor Vars, have more specialised needs than general distribution can give them."
He refused to rule out the appointment of another distributor in the short term but said any addition was likely to be more specialised, such as in the storage area.
Greg Finney, director of business management and marketing at Ingram Micro UK, said: "We are obviously disappointed. We have been delivering HP's Unix range for a substantial time and have a lot of resources behind it. The high-end market is still very important to us and we will continue to push into the sector as part of a long term plan."
Finney denied the distributor had failed to add value. "If you look at the schemes we have in place to help resellers generate business and the amount of investment we have in people, you will find we are servicing the hell out of them."
He added that Ingram Micro will continue working with HP to resolve reseller issues on a case-by-case basis.
Mike Kontowtt, chief executive of PSL, said the decision had been expected for some time. "Our market share has been slowly growing over the past year," he said.
"The reseller market for high-end products requires a different view of risks because they are adding significant value. This means a business division needs the autonomy to draw up its own contracts and I'm not sure Ingram allowed for this," he claimed.
Kontowtt said it was too early to say whether HP would replace Ingram, but added that PSL had the resources to accommodate additional resellers.
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