Microsoft has chopped Avnet and Northamber from its UK OEM distribution line-up following the completion of a review process.
The software giant fired out requests for proposals (RFPs) to its eight UK OEM distributors last September, as part of a global review of its OEM channel.
Microsoft confirmed this morning that it will move forward with six: Computer 2000, Entatech, Ingram Micro, Micro-P, VIP Computers and Westcoast.
Despite the decline of the system builder channel, OEM software is still big business thanks to the lucrative attach market for servers and PCs.
Microsoft stressed the two unsuccessful candidates – Avnet and Northamber – will remain key partners for other parts of its business and that its Office distribution line-up remains unchanged.
Alex Tatham, commercial director at Westcoast, put his firm's success down to the effort it put into the RFP process and the strength of its HP relationship.
"We are absolutely thrilled and delighted to continue to be a Microsoft OEM partner and commend them on running a very quick and clean process," Tatham said.
Jon Atherton, group vice president commercial at Entatech, said the reduction of OEM distributors was long overdue.
"We were confident Enta would be put through the process," he said. "We are generally happy that the number has been reduced as the OEM channel cannot survive on eight distributors. We would have preferred it to have been reduced by three, rather than two, though - but you can't have everything in life."
Dave Stevinson, director of VIP, said: "The review by Microsoft was extensive and very comprehensive. From what I understand the review looked in detail at the quality of the RFP, coupled with the vision of the management with a specific focus on the unique breadth of resellers."
Phil Brown, commercial director at Micro-P, said: "We're delighted to retain our OEM Distributor status with Microsoft. The RFP process was extremely well managed and thorough, exploring every area of our business and we are overjoyed to remain a key partner for Microsoft."
Avnet shrugged off the news, claiming that OEM was not a particular focus for it.
"Avnet Technology Solutions UK's Microsoft business has centered on licensing and our plan is to repurpose our OEM Microsoft resources into this area," said Taisha Betz, Microsoft business unit manager at Avnet Technology Solutions UK.
"Software licensing presents the largest area of opportunity for Avnet and is where we have been successfully building virtualisation and unified communications solutions, as one of two specialist VADs in the UK."
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