News review of the year Q3

A quarter including the cloud, the BSA cracking down on licensed software and some sobering thoughts about the state of the economy from some of the major players in distribution.

A quarter including the cloud, the BSA cracking down on licensed software and some sobering thoughts about the state of the economy from some of the major players in distribution.


The Business Software Alliance (BSA) caught out another business that failed to pay for its software landing the York-based Salamander Organisation with a settlement that will set it back £29,000. The BSA would keep the pressure on users that fail to have the correct licenses for their software throughout the year.

Another story that would have a fair amount of coverage started with sixty-five Unite members employed by IT services provider Fujitsu at its Crewe office walking out in protest at the treatment of their trade union rep, whom they claimed was being singled out for redundancy.

The remergence of the former HP channel boss and UK head at Canon caught the eye of the readers keen to find out just where Andy Vickers had turned up. His choice was to get on board with TinGlobal and to outline the refurbished kit specialist's ambitions for growth.

The establishment of the Star Internet backed Cloud Alliance came in for some criticism from the Cloud Industry Forum. Described by a friend of the Alliance as a "storm in a teacup" the main sticking points were around standards and the idea that the channel could find unwelcome competition from a group of suppliers targeting SMEs.

Having already dipped its toe in the reseller buying waters Xerox said it would continue buying partners that it believed would add value to its business as it looked to get a deeper stake in the SME market.

Softcat is handed out cake and beer to staff after breaking through the £200m revenue mark in its financial year, beating its own forecasts.

There was also some cheer in the channel for the changes made at Cisco where it was understood the appointment of the firm's operations director of distributed government, Richard Roberts, was going to become the new UK and Ireland channel director.

The month didn't start that brightly with Ingram Micro CEO Greg Spierkel telling analysts the distributor may look to take "actions" on costs and people in EMEA during the coming months as the firm keeps a keen eye on its costs in the region. "We are being very vigilant with costs and we're going to continue to be so in the second half of this year because we don't see the conditions changing," Spierkel said on the distributor's Q2 conference call.

Elsewhere consolidation continued with Bytes Technology Group, the parent company of Bytes Software Services, hitting the acquisition trail following a lengthy hiatus after picking up managed security services specialist Security Partnerships Ltd for an undisclosed sum.

On the hardware front Fujitsu set out plans to "dominate" the business tablet PC market and called on the channel to get involved as it launched its business-centric Windows-based Stylistic Q550 tablet.

Proposals to block illegal filesharing websites were dropped by the government because attempts to stop users downloading illegal software and music were deemed to be unworkable.

Fears that the Japanese quake would cause component shortages created a smart phone inventory build-up in the channel in the last quarter which was not totally cleared out as demand across Western Europe showed signs of fatigue. According to Gartner's Q2 analysis of the smart phone market the inventory issue combined with the fragile state of the economy means both manufacturers and distributors are likely to remain cautious about building up stocks in the near future.

London was gripped by riots and looters target IT retailers and the Sony distribution centre in Enfield which was set alight.

Just as the month was heading towards an end the CEO of HP Leo Apotheker dropped the bombshell that it was scrapping its TouchPad tablet and planning to get out of the PC hardware business.


Thanks to Leo the month became dominated by HP. Customers across the world scrambled to get hold of TouchPads at bargain basement prices as the stocks were sold off and those in the channel started to take in what might happen with the PC business. The UK head of the Personal Systems Group (PSG) at HP moved to calm customer and channel fears it is looking to rapidly exit the PC business with a business as usual message.

Elsewhere, former Azlan lynchpin Andrew Shepperd was heading to Avaya as the firm's new UK and Ireland managing director after Lee Shorten stepped down from the role.

Graphics specialist Nvidia warned the channel to buy through authorised partners to avoid running into problems with counterfeit products becoming the latest in a long line of manufacturers urging partners to steer clear of non-authorised suppliers offering prices that are usually too good to be true.

It emerged that BT was to form a £400m IT services business that will see the integration of three standalone units, reseller Engage IT, BT Business Direct and e-tail arm, with Engage IT head Martin Balaam stepping down as a result. "The new entity will deliver IT services to the entire spectrum of BT Business customers. It will allow BT Retail to work more effectively as one team across its customer base and across the different businesses," said BT in a statement that was seen by MicroScope.

Those networking distributors looking to add to their portfolios might well find the name Simon Culmer popping up in their visitor books as the newly appointed vice president of enterprise for the UK and Ireland was tasked with setting up a channel for Huawei.

SAP had a good day in court with its decision to challenge the $1.3bn fine that was handed out in it's intellectual property infringement case against Oracle last year being vindicated with $1bn slashed off what it must now pay it's arch rival. The German business intelligence specialist will now only pay $20m (£13m) to Oracle after it wrapped up a two week review of the case.

Fujitsu staff in Crewe and Manchester vote to stage a 24 walk out in a strike over victimisation of Union representatives.

Ingram Micro took the wraps off the Channel Transformation Alliance tasked with promoting and furthering the spread of cloud and managed services in the channel.

The month ended with Leo again hitting the headlines. This time for for being removed from his position as CEO and replaced with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Suddenly PC operation sell-off plans are back in the air again.

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