Linksys dealers that opt not to join Cisco's SMB programme when their existing scheme becomes extinct next month will have to find an alternative supplier for the small business market.
Cisco has set a cut-off date of 16 September for Linksys dealers - there are around 7,000 in EMEA - to become registered Cisco resellers following the announcement earlier this week that it will fold Linksys' SMB programme into its own scheme from next month.
To join Cisco's registered partner programme, prospects have to do little more than obtain an ID on Cisco's website, provide their details, tick a box and review the Ts & Cs. Cisco European channel director Dominic Vanhamme said the process would be no different for Linksys dealers.
He revealed Cisco would contact Linksys partners over the next four weeks and provide them with enhanced training and assistance to help them bridge the gap if needed.
"The date is compulsory because the Linksys SMB programme will be retired on that date, but we will walk them through it and we won't force them to join," he said.
Some Cisco dealers have raised fears of increased competition and further decreasing margins in an already highly-commoditised space, but on the evidence of a six-month pilot scheme, the vendor insisted there was no evidence to suggest it would be a problem.
"Linksys resellers tend to address customers with 20 to 50 desks," Vanhamme claimed, "but Cisco registered partners tend to address customers with 75 desks or more, so the nature of the customer base means they won't touch each other."
Meanwhile, Linksys has said it will be rolling out a new reseller programme aimed at the 'Connected Home' consumer and home office market, further details of which are expected soon.