PC Sales to Go Up
The weather outside may be frightful but, with PC sales increasing in 2004, vendors are offering attractive reseller incentives. The channel business promises to be delightful.
Due to strong customer demand, International Data Corp. (IDC) anticipates a 15.3 percent fourth quarter boost in global shipments of personal computers. But because of low-price computers, revenues will remain the same as 2003. IDC increased its estimate for the year to more than 152 million PC shipments, an 11.4 percent increase from a year ago. Click here for more details.
Elsewhere in the Channel
On a sad note, former WorldCom CEO John Sidgmore died last week of complications due to acute pancreatitis. In 2002, 50-year-old Sidgmore replaced Bernie Ebbers, who resigned as CEO after the company's accounting procedures were in question. Sidgmore revealed these problems in July 2002, saying "We want the bad guys exposed. We want the bad guys punished. And we want to move on with our lives at WorldCom." Many believe that his candor at this critical time was one reason why MCI would finally emerge from its accounting scandal.
Avnet Hall-Mark said it has widened its Networked Storage Advisor service to provide consultation services for resellers that decrease the time required to do a full storage assessment to a few days, rather than weeks. It will also broaden reseller reach and improve customer relations by gathering comprehensive data for resellers when trained reseller employees are not on hand.
CDW already has more 80 field-sales representatives in 30 states, but the company plans to increase that number in 2004, said CEO and Chairman John Edwardson at the Raymond James IT supply Chain Conference in New York. Edwardson noted that CDW is not aiming to service Fortune 500 companies, but rather Fortune 2000 companies. To assist in integrating its purchase of MicroWarehouse assets and to better support a field-sales force, the company also intends to increase its IT investment.
Note to solution providers: Sell Emulex's Fibre Channel hostbus adapters and receive premium prizes. According to Emulex's senior marketing manager of worldwide channels, Bob Sparanese, the company's new "Sell Emulex HBAs and Win" promotion will give solution providers the chance to earn one to three points through January 31 for every HBA they acquire from distributors such as Tech Data, TidalWire, Bell Microproducts and Info X. The points can be traded for premium items such as big-screen televisions, HDTV monitors and home entertainment systems. Points also make partners eligible to win an all expense paid trip to Southern California for the Toshiba Senior Classic golf tournament in February.
Tech Data will set a strong focus on linking training, marketing, service and support for a new digital product lineup which has yet to be decided. While continuing to push commercial PC lines, Tech Data is working on a Specialized Business Unit directed at digital home and business solutions. Sources believe the new product may be released in March.
Three channel-only storage vendor startups, Sepaton, ONStor and Maranti Networks are introducing new products and channel programs. Sepaton will introduce the S2100 virtual tape library that mimics just about every kind of tape format to virtualize tape backups to hard disk. Sepaton has already signed 12 Northeast solution providers. Onstor's product is a diskless NAS device that attaches to hard drives on SAN assortments from several vendors. Onstor has signed six IBM solution providers thus far, according to Peter Tarrant, the company's vice president of marketing. Maranti Networks unveiled a product that includes 16- and 128-port switches with director-class failover potential and hot-plug pieces. So far Maranti has signed three channel partners and is seeking additional ones.
Cisco Systems is giving sales incentive bonuses to its enterprise sales group in an attempt to strengthen connections among its solution providers and direct-sales team. To obtain the bonus, the company's 140 local managers completed regional planning, a tactic for creating go-to-market plans that recognize top channel associates for their technology and vertical market know-how. According to Doug Dennerline, Cisco's senior vice president of U.S. enterprise and federal sales, the bonus is a huge stride in the networking vendor's general plan to improve its channel associates' ability to earn a profit.
Beginning Jan. 1, Kodak Polychrome Graphics (KPG) will no longer sell the Xerox DocuColor 2045/2060/6060/5252 digital color press lines, and the DocuColor 3535 and 12 color copier-printers. KPG and Xerox are ending an equipment reseller agreement. Xerox will still market the KPG Matchprint Professional Server to its customers and will maintain service and systems analyst support of equipment previously sold by KPG.