News review of the year Q4

Cisco was slamming its rival HP as the fallout from its CEO changes continued, the Thailand floods caused havoc in the hard disk drive market and December started with some distribution veterans returning to the fold and getting promoted.

Cisco was slamming its rival HP as the fallout from its CEO changes continued, the Thailand floods caused havoc in the hard disk drive market and December started with some distribution veterans returning to the fold and getting promoted.


In an internal memo leaked to the press, Cisco slammed its rival HP, saying that the possible removal of its PC business from the equation will hobble its rival's ability to compete effectively in the channel.The crux of Cisco's attack centred on the idea that the PSG business is the base around which most HP channel sales pitches are built, and its removal will make it harder for resellers to cross-sell other parts of the HP portfolio.

Those in the channel worried that Leo Apotheker, the former CEO of HP, was going to be short of a bob or two following his decision to step down might well revise their opinion in light of his severance package, which ran into millions.

Signs of the ongoing struggle in the public sector could be seen over at RM which announced plans to trim its staffing numbers by a fifth as a direct result of the cuts in ints key market.

Avaya's new UK and Ireland managing director Andrew Shepperd said he would adopt a "back to basics" approach in his dealings with the channel and that he was starting his time at the vendor with a clean slate and wanted to consign its chequered channel history to the dustbin.

Signs of ongoing problems across Europe could be seen in the latest PC market figures from Context which revealed that although frantic cost-cutting by vendors had boosted PC shipment levels in Europe, sales revenues collapsed during the third quarter of the year.

Just as the world began to get back to normal after the terrible Japanese earthquake another natural disaster started to cause havoc with the components market facing shortages after the worst floods to hit Thailand for decades knocked out facilities producing storage products. Market watcher iSuppli downgraded its Q4 production forecast in light of the disaster but the impact on the channel is set yo continue into the first quarter of next year.

A good month for Lenovo saw it taking advantage of consolidation and changing market dynamics to overtake both Acer and Dell to claim the second place spot globally in the PC market.


Things started with a mega dose of channel consolidation with a seven-strong merger of resellers, including Calyx Software, teaming up to form a new mid-market facing Microsoft Dynamics supplier to be called m-hance. The new firm is composed of the integrated businesses of Calyx Software; Microsoft Gold Partner Gyrosoft; Microsoft Dynamics GP VAR Touchstone; ISV Trinity Computer Services, and its subsidiaries Avant-Garde and Sys-Care; and Calyx Software's Irish business MentecPlus.

The news coming out of Thailand continued to get worse with the floods threatening not just to cause disruption to hard disc drive supplies but also to lead to price hikes and stock problems for distributors.

C2000 and Azlan parent Tech Data announced it was importing its US cloud channel programme, TDCloud, to Europe in a bid to help resellers take advantage of the opportunities in the sector.

Hot on the heels of its success in the global PC rankings Lenovo set out its belief that there was still plenty of life left in the desktop and laptop market.

Cisco CEO John Chambers told investors that the firm's turnaround plan was hitting its stride, and warned of more aggressive transformation to come, laying into his competitors and suggesting he had gone easy on them up to now.

Comet might be known for its bargains but it came up with an offer venture capital found difficult to refuse with its parent Kesa selling it for £2. The buyer was a group of companies under the name Hailey, which has been advised by OpCapita, and included a £50m investment from Kesa, which would retain liability for the staff final salary pension scheme and the responsibility for services and warranties.

Analysts at Context revealed that tablets are starting to deliver for distribution, as the form-factor became the third largest revenue earner for that tier of the channel across Europe.

Microsoft reached an out-of-court settlement with five more UK resellers caught selling illegal copies of its software.

Times remained tough in retail but smiles greeted the news that Dixons half year loss was only £25m. Many had expected it to be potentially £10m higher. The retailer is hoping for a bumper Christmas but continued to be cautious.

The future of distributors in the cloud does not necessarily entail becoming an aggregator of SaaS offerings, which could lead to increased channel conflict, according to sector VAD Cloud Distribution, which warned that along the line it could cause a conflict with resellers trying to do the same thing.

Enterprise networking distie Azlan announced an imminent restructure to bring itself more closely into line with its European business, as well as bringing it closer to its key vendor partners. The disclosure came in the wake of the departure of senior execs Simon Welch and Mark Walker. Azlan UK director Colin McGregor said the new structure would enable a clearer, more distinct focus on key targets.


A month so far dominated by the politicians. The ongoing problems in the Eurozone continued to cause problems undermining confidence with the insolvency figures from Experian showing that more IT firms had hit the wall.

Some thoughts turned to working out if the £40bn credit easing scheme announced in the Autumn Statement by the Chancellor George Osborne would take away some of the risks for banks lending to smaller firms.

There was also a chance for some of the well known names in distribution to reappear and get promoted with former Ingram Micro, Steljes and Computer 2000 boss Julian Klein returning to the channel after a lengthy absence to take up the post of European development director at Tech Data-owned audio-visual distie Maverick. Over at Avnet Graeme Watt being promoted in a senior reshuffle which saw the channel veteran extend his role at the distributor beyond its Technology Solutions operation being elected at the corporate vice president for Avnet Inc.

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