Persona's promotion to the ranks of Novell's direct distribution line-up has shocked its other partners.
Novell is going ahead with the deal (PC Dealer, 6 November), but said it will not take effect until February 1997 to give the channel time to get used to the idea.
Pressure is already mounting after Persona managing director Roger Paul claimed that his company would be Novell's top UK distributor before the end of 1998.
CHS/Merisel networking divisional manager Peter Rigby scoffed at the idea. 'That's like a poodle setting itself up against great danes. Novell had three disties, then they added Azlan and now they've added Persona.
I don't know why they're doing it. This will just put pressure on prices,' he said.
James Morgan, Novell business manager at Frontline, was also disappointed.
'It's difficult to see why they're expanding when we already do over 50 per cent of the business.'
Russell Smith, distribution manager at Novell UK, admitted some partners were displeased. 'I wouldn't necessarily call them happy - there is some disappointment when you apparently expand the channel. That is why we are giving the channel time to absorb the change. Besides, most of Persona's business with Novell should be incremental.'
According to Novell, Persona won the deal because it is a value-added distributor and its owner Toplog is a top Novell distributor in France.
Smith denied the appointment was to bump up UK sales figures, saying Persona sales sourced via Toplog had always been included in UK numbers.
As of next year, Novell distributors will consist of Frontline, Ingram, CHS, Azlan and Persona, as well as Sharptext and Frontline in Ireland.
The business partners - Metrologie, Globelle and Northamber - will remain unchanged.
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