2013 will be the year the UK's top resellers finally consider switching allegiances from US hardware giants Dell and HP, according to Japan-based rival Fujitsu.
The Tokyo-listed firm has more than doubled the size of its UK channel business over the past two years, with 800 partners now punting its servers, storage, PCs and tablets on a regular basis.
Michael Keegan, managing director of Fujitsu's technology solutions division, admitted that most £100m-plus-turnover resellers had been resolute in their support for HP and Dell as the duo are often seen as the only PC and server option among enterprise customers.
But he predicted perceived uncertainty over both vendors' commitment to hardware could finally see that status quo smashed in 2013.
"My provocation back to those resellers in 2013 is: doing your run rate with these American brands may have got you so far," Keegan (pictured) said. "But going forward, with all the changes going on in these companies, you need to think about who is going to be around in the longer term.
"That is why they should be talking to us: Fujitsu is long-term committed and is increasing its channel business in the UK market."
Keegan reeled off a string of statistics illustrating the growth Fujitsu has enjoyed in its hardware business since he took the helm two years ago.
Total sales have grown 120 per cent over that period, he said, with its server market share quadrupling to about four per cent.
"On PCs, we are flat but that is against significant declines at HP and Dell. Were we have seen explosive growth over the past 12 months has been in server and storage," he said.
Channel-dedicated staff have risen from about 30 in 2010 to 72 by the end of last year, he added, while the total number of accounts with which Fujitsu trades now stands at 3,500.
Its base of accredited Select server and storage resellers grew from 15 to 100 between 2011 and 2012, while its tally of Expert server and storage partners grew from zero to 16 and eight to 14 over the same period, respectively.
Fujitsu's PC business is flat on an annual comparison, but Keegan was keen to emphasise that both Dell, which appears to be on the verge of an ownership change, and HP, which has flip-flopped over its commitment to its PC arm, have seen annual declines.
"The conversations we are having with partners are now much more strategic than tactical, and addressed around their core business opportunities," he added. "We expect 2013 to be the year we break through into the range of bigger partners in the UK."
Mike Norris, chief executive of Computacenter - the UK's largest reseller/IT services outfit - was sceptical.
"Fujitsu is a major competitor of ours on the services side so my first question is 'how much overlap is there between the two'?" he said.
"Secondly, a hardware vendor is for life, not just for Christmas. Show me the five-year plan, not the six-month plan and then you might get my attention. Vendors have to show continuity over a long period of time, and that's tough."
Nick Grossman, business development director at HP partner 2e2, said adding vendors is not a decision his firm takes lightly.
"Much as it's nice to be friends with everyone, that's not possible. We pick our partners carefully and want to ensure they can be meaningful to us and that we are meaningful to them. We need to ensure we aren't doing too many things on too many fronts."
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