MicroScope's top stories, October 2013

RM quits PC building after 35 years, O2 Wholesale pulls back from channel, and VMware brings own-brand hybrid clouds to the UK. Catch up on all the biggest stories from the past month

RM exits PC market, leaves 300 unemployed

Long-standing British PC manufacturer RM has announced that following a review of its Education Technology division – the focus of a major rescue plan at the education services provider – it will cease production of PCs.

Its exit from the market brings to an end more than 35 years of PC building by RM, and will see around 300 people, including some temporary staff, lose their jobs in the coming 12 months.

Founded as a mail order components supplier in the early ‘70s, RM expanded into the personal computing market in 1977. In the 1980s – along with rival Acorn – it became a key player in the government’s Microelectronics Education Programme, with models such as the 380Z helping to establish PCs in the nation’s classrooms.

However the business ran into trouble following the 2008 recession and was hit hard by Coalition spending cuts three years ago, especially by the closure of the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project, and has struggled to regain its footing in leaner times.

In a statement today, RM said that the declining and low margin sale of PC devices was no longer a priority, and that the Education Technology unit will now focus on expanding its existing software and services offering.

HP swings the axe in EMEA

HP is set to hand out P45s to thousands of staff across EMEA as the vendor continues on its turnaround plan set in motion by the CEO Meg Whitman two years ago.

The vendor is going through a five year plan to reinvent its business and had indicated earlier this year that it would have to axe staff as a result of those plans.

What the decision means for UK staff is yet to be made clear, with the vendor working through a consultation process in each territory as part of the workforce reduction process.

"HP expects approximately 7,095 employees to exit the company or to be re-deployed into new roles that better fit the future needs of the company and its customers," the firm stated.

Getronics backers buy NEC Enterprise Solutions UK biz

Getronics has bought NEC Enterprise Solutions’ direct sales and services business in the UK, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland  as part of a major new enterprise communications partnership agreement with NEC Europe.

The deal also includes a provision for Getronics and its unified comms services business Connectis to distribute and supply NEC’s enterprise communications solutions.

Getronics’ German backers, industrial conglomerate Aurelius, said the partnership brought a strong system integration channel to NEC Enterprise Solutions around unified comms, collaboration and mobility.

O2 Wholesale shuts down channel business

In a sudden reversal of its previous position, business broadband provider O2 Wholesale has told channel partners it will be closing down its wholesale broadband service offering next year, claiming it no longer sees a viable strategic fit.

In a brief statement, O2 Wholesale said: “We can confirm that as of February 2014 we will no longer offer wholesale broadband services. The delivery of fibre broadband currently requires a level of scale and investment which does not fit with our strategy to focus on digital services and experiences”.

Ingram Micro loses UK VP Vandenbussche following shuffle

A game of boardroom musical chairs initiated by new Ingram Micro president Gerhard Schulz has led to the exits of both UK and Benelux VP Johan Vandenbussche and SVP of vendor management and business development Vincenzo Baggio.

Vandenbussche pitched up at Ingram Micro in 1998 as managing director of Belgium, following a stint at General Electric sub Avery Berkel. He became UK managing director and VP of northern Europe in 2004 and remained in the post until 2007 when he took up the post of VP of the pan-European business unit, and subsequently became EMEA VP of business development.

Vohkus hires Compton with £100m to aim for

Vohkus has set its sights on breaking through the £100m revenue barrier after appointing Kelway's former CFO Craig Compton to the board as chief operating officer handling the execution of the strategic business plan.

Compton has spent the last year as a consultant to the Vohkus board and joins with a brief to guide the board through a strategy that is aiming to get £100m annual revenues by 2017.

SCC revenues up despite impact of SDG sale

Solutions provider SCC has reported a strong year, with growth in its core business outpacing the impact of both challenging trading conditions, and distortions created by the summer 2012 sale of distribution arm SDG.

In the 12 months to 31 March 2013, SCC reported UK sales up 3.5% to £665.30m, while European ops grew by 2.2% to £906.7m, although group operating profit was down by over £2m year-on-year to £7.33m, again as a consequence of market pressures and the SDG sale.

VMware insists hybrid cloud service no threat to partner business

At VMworld Europe in Barcelona, VMware has announced the extension of its own vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS) offering into Europe for the first time.

A pilot programme will make its debut in the UK in November 2013, said VMware, with full availability expected mid-Q1. The first location has been revealed as Slough, and VMware will move to replicate the model on the Continent in the very near future.

2e2 datacentre unit star performer for Daisy Group

Daisy Group, the business communications giant that bought out 2e2’s datacentre business in February 2013, has reported a strong performance from the unit in a newly-released half year trading update.

Now rebranded as Daisy Data Centre Solutions Ltd (DDCSL), the business is performing in line with management expectations, and has even managed to sign a bunch of contracts with some of 2e2’s former customers.

Exclusive Networks cuts ribbon on Big Technology

Big Technology has opened its doors as a UK distributor specialising in technology that the channel can sell around the datacentre, virtualisation and big data.

Operating as part of the Exclusive Networks Group the distie is being headed up by former Exclusive sales director Jason Dance and starts life with seven vendors - Extreme Networks, Silver Peak, Tegile Systems, Avere Systems, Coraid, Nimbus Data and Nutanix.

Northamber makes seven figure annual loss

Veteran distie Northamber has conceded that the scale and speed of the decline in the PC market overwhelmed it during the past year or so, even as it redoubled its efforts to reduce its exposure to the market.

Westcon lines up to support Avaya midmarket push

Westcon has moved to build on Avaya’s recent launch of its iConnect midmarket programme with the launch of its own scheme, dubbed activ8.

Microsoft realigns UK distribution strategy, cuts Avnet

Microsoft has revealed details of a major revamp of its UK distribution strategy, with Avnet and VIP Computers heading for the exit.

HP PartnerOne gets new specialisations, rebates, certifications

HP has announced a number of additional enhancements to its worldwide PartnerOne set up with the intention of giving its partners a more predictable experience, while helping them stand out from the crowd and increase their own profitability.

CIF finds hybrid cloud is the user choice

Cloud computing has now hit mainstream deployment in the UK with customers satisfied with the technology they have purchased and getting ready to adopt even more hosted applications.

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