Further evidence of cracks in IBM's overall channel strategy emerged last week when the firm's software division signed Bytech as a value-added distributor, putting rival CST's nose out of joint.
Both Bytech and CST are the UK distributors for the RS/ 6000 family of machines, but CST said it was unaware of Bytech's appointment by the software division.
A source close to CST said: 'The bit of IBM that made that agreement is nothing to do with the RS stuff. The outside umbrella division (set up to push IBM business through the channel) and the trading divisions are not wholly in sync.'
She said that the channels group, headed by ex-Azlan executive Nick Coutts, was struggling to push the same channel policy across the different trading units.
Bytech's appointment will allow it to distribute MQ Series middleware and Visual Warehouse. This represents a push by IBM into the small to medium-sized enterprise sector.
The scheme is part of the Besteam initiative. Susi Pink, IBM UK channel marketing manager, said Bytech's appointment was part of a programme called Middleware Magic.
But Peter Gee, product manager at Bytech, said that the appointment was nothing to do with its position as an RS/6000 distributor. 'We're one of the few distributors for software products, but we position ourselves as value-add.'
The AS/400 group is expected to confirm Northamber as distributor for its entry-level machines as others join the business partner bonanza.
Northamber is expected to become the first distributor to sell these machines in the UK. Steve Rayburn, UK AS/400 entry systems programme manager, said he is still in negotiations and expects to sign more distributors across Europe.
'It will happen fairly shortly,' he said. The first signing would be a pilot scheme and IBM might well sign other distributors afterwards.
Infrastructure provider says international sales now make up 51 per cent of its revenue
Suzanne Chappell of TMS plans sailing venture after selling Oxfordshire-based TMS to acquisitive Chess
Withdrawal of credit insurance by some providers a 'reflection' of current challenge facing IT sector, according to MD Steve Soper
SMART's UK managing director joins Lenovo to boost SMB business