Online reseller Easy Computers is laying down the gauntlet to UK VARs after launching a site that purports to undercut rivals in the Intel-based server market by packaging hardware with basic off-the-page services.
The Huddersfield-based e-tailer is preparing to launch serverdirect.co.uk, selling small business and file servers to SMEs - a move away from its current brands including laptopsdirect.co.uk that largely target consumers.
"We are under no illusion that selling to businesses is different and that this does not truly fit with our existing brands but we feel there is an opening in the market," said Nick Glynne, managing director at Easy Computers.
He said its lower operating expense allowed it to undercut VARs on hardware and remote access cards, remotely powered switches and software that alerts network issues made support services cheaper.
"Long gone are the days when local businesses need to pay VARs a premium for support or prop up their inefficient business models when sourcing hardware," said Glynne.
The portal will sell low-end servers from HP and IBM and services including hardware and software configuration for £15 and £500 respectively and £50 to pre-install software. It will also offer two tiers of managed support contracts.
In the year to March 2007, Easy Computers achieved £48m revenue but while it did not disclose profit, though Glynne insisted its bottom line was healthy.
Phil Doye, managing director at Kelway, said it did not view the portal as a competitor "it is not pitched at our market...those people that want to buy servers online can already do so from other e-tailers."
Selling servers had become more similar to desktops said Jonathan Wall, marketing director at online player dab.com but they still required a level of assistance from the reseller
"We sell servers through our corporate account team...so [the success of Easy Computers] will depend on how well they have educated their sales staff," he added.