Comms vendor Avaya has been left with only two UK distributors following Avnet's decision to shut its unified communications (UC) business.
Avnet this week informed resellers that it will stop taking orders for the three vendors that sit in its UC business unit at the end of this week.
Comms giant Avaya is by far the largest vendor affected by the move, but Avnet will also cease working with VoIP media gateway specialist Audiocodes and videoconferencing outfit Lifesize.
UC boss Peter Hannah was one of a number of employees who left Avnet late last year as the distributor restructured its business. At the time, Avnet said it planned to fold the unit into one of its other business units but confirmed in a statement to CRN today that it is exiting the market altogether.
"While UC technology is complementary to our UK portfolio, it is not core to our strategy," said Avnet Technology Solutions sales director Laura Harman (pictured below).
"Our plan is to realign resources into other, more strategic areas of the business where we believe we can add more value to our business partners. As such, we will be closing our UC business in the UK. We will be working with the supplier and business partners affected to ensure a smooth transition."
Avnet's UC exit leaves Avaya with just two UK distributors in the form of Westcon and ScanSource Communications.
Paul Blundell, managing director at Avaya partner iQual, said he had some reservations about having only two distributors from which to choose.
"If there are more distributors there, people have to up their game a little bit," he said. "Moving to a two-party system does not give us any options if we are disillusioned with Westcon and ScanSource. It would be nice to have a choice of A, B or C."
Blundell predicted it would be tough for Avaya to quickly enlist and train up another distributor given the recent additions and changes to its portfolio, including its recent acquisition of videoconferencing outfit Radvision.
Avnet's commitment to the UC arena first came under scrutiny last August when it parted company with ShoreTel. At the time, it insisted it was committed to the market and its Avaya business.
In a statement, Avaya said: "Avnet and Avaya discussed this and came to a mutual agreement that at this point the two business models do not fit in the UK.
"We will however still continue our relationship with Avnet in Czech Rep and Poland."
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