Channel players have praised Northamber’s personal approach, despite the firm releasing a statement confirming the loss of its IBM contract.
As exclusively revealed by CRN last week, Big Blue terminated its distribution contract with Northamber, as it moves to work with distributors with a pan-European presence.
The move will leave IBM with three UK distributors: ISI (part of SDG, which was recently acquired by Tech Data), Arrow ECS and Avnet.
A Northamber statement sent to CRN said: “Following marketplace reviews carried out by both IBM and Northamber, IBM’s future direction does diverge from the business models of the majority of the Northamber customer base.
“After over 28 years, it is of course disappointing, but as a distributor, today's harsh realities necessitate the requirement to cover the costs of the support infrastructure required. The simple result is for both companies to strategically realign themselves for the long term. We wish IBM well and would enjoy the prospect of working together again in the future.”
Rival ISI said IBM's move had not been a shock. In a statement the distributor said: "The announcement has not come as a surprise considering the global consolidation of VADs. We are fully invested in all IBM brands and with a team of over 70 IBM specialists we are well positioned to assist all partners with growing their IBM business."
Onlookers were quick to salute Northamber’s business style, with one VAR telling CRN: “I would say Northamber are one of the better distributors – probably because of their size they can focus their attention.
“The law of the jungle means that the bigger organisations get, the less human and more faceless they become, but the smaller the firm, the more ‘family oriented’ their approach. IBM seems to be going down the ‘big is beautiful’ approach and it is sad to see that happening.”
Paul Simkin, former managing director of rival distributor ETC (now SDG), said: “I was sad, though perhaps not surprised to hear about IBM dropping Northamber. I was lucky enough to be dropped into the PC distribution business in 1988 when I formed and ran ETC as an IBM distributor for 10 years.
“Before that I was a huge fan and customer of Northamber, as an SCC salesman prior to being their competitor. They got me and many corporate PC salespeople I knew at the time out of many jams, and in terms of IBM distribution, they literally wrote the book.”
“I would like to place on record the debt that the channel owes to Messrs Mathews and Phillips, salesman and deal makers par excellence, we will not see their like again."
In separate news, Northamber revealed earlier today that it will appoint some new faces to its senior management team later this month.
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