Two of Compaq?s top dealers have approached direct PC vendor Dell to supply its kit because they are upset about potential damage to their sales when manufacturer starts to sell direct to users in the autumn. Turmoil broke out within the channel when Compaq?s intentions to sell direct were first revealed in February. The decision was seen as a means by which Compaq would take the fight to rivals Dell and Gateway 2000. According to Dell partner sales manager Mark McCarthy, who is responsible for looking after the vendor?s resellers, two unspecified ?large Compaq resellers, unsure of what Compaq is doing, have come to talk to us. They must be thinking if there?s something worrying Compaq about Dell, then maybe we?d better find out what it is.? The latest doubts for resellers came when Compaq US declared it would exclude resellers that configured Dell and Gateway machines, as it considered it ?hypocritical? for channel partners to support direct vendors. Many observers within the channel expected that a similar approach would be taken by Compaq UK, but that the legal system was likely to prohibit such an aggressive stance. Given the inability to impose punitive measures on the channel, David Petts, national sales manager at Compaq UK, said the UK operation would merely ?implore them not to partner with Dell as it is as much a threat to them [the channel] as it is to Compaq?. Peter Blampied, commercial marketing manager at Compaq UK, said: ?Any resellers approaching Dell are sleeping with the enemy. Our key resellers will be fully appraised of our plans within the next seven days.? Blampied also claimed that the channel was informed of Compaq?s plans for the forthcoming year ? including its ?quasi-direct model? ? as far back as March.
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