Microsoft refuses to cut "over-crowded" OEM distie network


Microsoft refuses to cut "over-crowded" OEM distie network

Microscope contributor

Distribution partners have slammed Microsoft for not rationalising its OEM wholesale channel after exiting the review stage with the same eight firms.

During the summer, Redmond kicked-off a global programme to evaluate the health of its incumbent distributors which in the UK included Ingram Micro, C2000, Avnet TS, Westcoast, VIP, Micro P, Enta Technologies and Northamber.

This led to expectations from some involved in the process that two would lose the franchise to reflect the shrinking system builder market in the UK which has collapsed under the pressure of tier one brands in the past decade.

However, Gary Fowle, OEM director at Microsoft UK confirmed there were no changes to its line-up, "everyone going through the programme actually had a very good quarter and therefore we are announcing no changes in this cycle."  

The metrics included performance against the forecasted budget, breadth and depth of system builder accounts and the type of portfolio each carried.

"Within our OEM distribution landscape, all distributors sell to unique customers and then share other accounts with their competitors," he added in defence of the decision.

Distributors asked to comment anonymously on Microsoft's decision due to concerns of upsetting the vendor.

One branded the move as "crazy" and claimed it was nonsensical. "Given the size of the system builder market I don't see why Microsoft needs so many distributors, its overcrowded."

Another source complained that carrying eight distributors in any sector was not a recipe for partner success but suspected that a reduction in the line-up was not far off, "I am sure Microsoft will reduce the numbers in the next review."

A third distributor bemoaned the lack of action from Microsoft, "sometimes the easiest thing to do is nothing."

The situation may be less than ideal for Microsoft's eight distributors but OEMs are happy  the status quo has been maintained as they have the same number of places to shop around for product and credit.

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