IBM has reversed its open door policy of allowing any reseller access to kit through distribution with an accreditation scheme aimed at pushing dealers to target the small and medium enterprise market.
Big Blue has signed 50 dealers to the new scheme which will see the formation of a new tier of resellers. The vendor has appointed three dealer account managers who will visit the accredited resellers.
IBM dealer sales manager Dave Webb denied the company was planning to cut back on its channel. 'This is just an experiment to see what happens when you take a small number of dealers and give them as much help as you can. Some of them may warm to it, others might prefer to be left more alone.' He said there was no set time for the end of the trial period.
Northamber marketing manager Loay Lawrence said the announcement was good news. 'IBM will be helping dealers to sell more kit and encouraging them to use distribution,' he said. 'It's good for us and good for the channel.'
It is over three years since IBM stipulated any kind of criteria for resellers wishing to buy through distributors.
Meanwhile, IBM will outline its plans for a network computer (NC) at next week's Comdex/Fall with a device which spans all the available platforms.
It will sell the products through its two-tier distribution model, but NCs will not arrive in volume until next year. Chief candidates for UK distributors are Bytech and Northamber.
David McAughtrey will become head of the newly formed NC division in the EMEA group after working on feasibility plans this year. The software component of the NC will be based on the latest version of OS/2, but using the IBM browser to access all platforms.
An IBM UK source said: 'The NCs will work across all platforms, including the S/390, RS/6000, AS/400 and PC. They will become generally available next year.'
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