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In-depth: December in the channel

Microscope contributor

As the industry began its annual wind-down for Christmas there was no shortage of goings on in the channel, with big names such as DSGi, Microsoft and HP all hitting the headlines on MicroScope.co.uk

DSGi shuts Equanet Surbiton base

DSGi closed Equanet’s Surbiton-based office and shifted across all customer accounts to Bury and Borehamwood as part of a costrationalisation process.

Calls to the branch were being transferred to the operations centre HQ in Bury and a spokesman at DSGi confirmed the move was part of the“ongoing transformation” of its B2B operations.

“The 18 members of staff there have been informed and we started a 30 days consultation period, during which time they will be able to apply for other vacancies within the Group,” a spokesman told MicroScope.

“These changes are part of the transformation programme that will deliver an efficient, more customer-focused organisation that will sustain the business for future growth,” he added.

Microsoft on the warpath

Microsoft took action against four resellers caught selling illegal software and is looking to tap into a strong customer willingness to report dodgy dealers.

The vendor has noticed a 600% rise in the number of people reporting purchases of illegal software and is encouraging more of the same with the launch of a consumer action day.

The software giant has actively pursued channel players at all levels that sell illegal copies of its software in a bid to reduce the income in the UK lost to piracy and the latest offenders were discovered infringing copyright in the last six months.

Computacenter puts HP server business out to tender

Computacenter put its sizeable HP ProLiant server business out to tender but sources doubted ETC will be among the distributors vying for the contract.

The integrator-come reseller recently sold CCD to Ingram Micro but continued to order kit from its former distribution arm until the deal completed in early December.

“We are talking to everyone about our ISS (Industry Standard Servers) spend,” Mike Norris, chief executive at Computacenter told MicroScope.

Changes at HP

Hewlett-Packard announced a replacement for David Wright filling the vacancy at the head of its PSG UK and Ireland management team.

Gordon Ballantyne, a former T-Mobile UK sales and service director, joined as vice president of PSG UK early in the month.

On his CV Ballantyne also lists Dell as an employer and he was responsible for helping set up dell.com across Europe.

Meanwhile, the vendor ended months of furious speculation among its partners, confirming to staff that long serving channel director Dave Poskett is to leave the organisation early next year as part of a dramatic overhaul of its Solutions Partner Organisation.

In a letter to UK staff, Jos Brenkel, head of Personal Systems Group for the Middle East, Mediterranean and Africa (MEMA) - who had also been caretaking the UK division until recently – informed them that Poskett would leave on 6 January.

Kavanagh hits out

HP came in for criticism from partners when Kavanagh said that an overcrowded reseller market and growth limiting policies influenced its decision to end its exclusive 13 year relationship with the vendor and add Hitachi Data Systems to its portfolio.

The Bracknell-based systems integrator was one of the last remaining HP-only houses in the UK but decided that following a tough year it was time to build the storage portfolio and will sell HDS’ AMS and USP products via its Gold accreditation.

“I think HDS has a strong new business acquisition approach, they have good technologies but more importantly for us is that they don’t have a saturated channel,” Kavanagh managing director Rob Campbell told MicroScope.

NHS IT hits new stumbling block

The chancellor Alistair Darling and the Treasury are to scale back spending on the NHS's National Programme for IT.

Although the BBC reports that the NPfIT "may be cancelled in Wednesday's pre-Budget report", the Treasury said that only parts of the programme will be scaled back.

Alistair Darling told the BBC that the NPfIT "isn't essential to the frontline".

Ingram UK profits down

Ingram Micro UK profits halved in the last full financial year as turnover fell by low double digits.

In the twelve months to 31 December 2008, the broadline giant made £2.2m compared to £5.6m in 2007 and sales fell 14% to £658m, according to a filing at Companies House.

The directors at Ingram noted that the “UK IT market highly competitive” which favoured “large, financially sound distributors that have large product portfolios, economies of scale and strong business partner relationships.”

Dell tweets to sales success

Computer maker Dell has sold $6.5m worth of equipment by using microblogging website Twitter.

This represents a late surge because in June this year the company said it had made $3m of sales on Twitter over the previous two years.

EMC reviewing distie line-up

EMC is reviewing the UK channel to ascertain if it needs to appoint a third distribution partner to concentrate on SME and specialist technologies.

Currently Magirus and Avnet Technology Solutions distribute EMC in the UK but Willem Hendrickx, senior vice president of the global channel office, told MicroScope it had sent questionnaires to prospective partners.

“In the UK there is Request for Proposal going on to see if we need hire another distributor,” he said. “We are working with a couple of distributors to see which ones we need to add.”

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