Sun has countered accusations that its UK distribution strategy is overcrowded, claiming it aims to quadruple its turnover in 2005 to generate demand.
The vendor, which recently appointed former Oracle vice-president of alliances and channels, Trudy Norris-Grey, as its UK managing director, works with five UK distributors: Clarity, Access Distribution, Interface Solutions and InTechnology as Channel Development Partners (CDPs) and Nexpress, which deals in re-manufactured Sun equipment.
One partner, who asked to remain anonymous, said: "The market for Sun, particularly at the bottom end, has eroded. It is increasingly difficult for partners to make margin in that space."
Gary Nugent, alliance sales director at Sun, said: "I agree that it is competitive at the low end. But we have about three per cent of the overall market and are planning to quadruple our business in the coming year."
Simon Welch, marketing director at Clarity, said that while he understands Sun's position, the market is tight.
"We understand the challenge of a big company such as Sun in the marketplace. We have moved up the food chain and are dealing with second-tier system integrators and looking to offer something different. It's not worthwhile operating in the low end, where it is a bloodbath and everyone competes on price," he said.
Deborah Lees, UK marketing manager at Access Distribution, said: "Resellers benefit from more choice and true added value. As a CDP, we are tasked with generating demand for our reseller partners and so always look for new markets for them to enter."
Steve Cowlin, divisional director for Sun at InTechnology, agreed.
"Sun's distributors bring value add in different ways. I think the market is big enough to sustain the number of partners. Sun now has some exciting new products that can compete with IBM and Hewlett-Packard. It is looking at growth through selling solutions rather than tin," he said.
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