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Compaq resellers predict turmoil

Compaq resellers predict turmoil

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Despite ongoing concerns about how and when its direct strategy will finally be implemented, the Australian channel appears to be sticking by Compaq through its post-integration hurdles.

But some are doing so reluctantly.

"The company's whole channel strategy is in a mess," Edward Revis, director of Microcomputer Solutions, claimed. "The service is certainly not what it used to be.

"I mean we're still selling a lot of Compaq products but nobody really knows what's going on."

John Perkins, the managing director of Balanced IT Services, said most Australian resellers will have to be patient as Compaq is still "finding its feet as a new company". However, he warned Compaq's plan to adopt a more direct model threatens to jeopardise the vendor's long-term relationships with some of those resellers.

For Ross Cochrane, Express Data's sales and marketing director, the concern is not so much Compaq's failure to advise the channel, but its lack of consultation.

"They're staying in touch but the process is being driven by them - it hasn't been particularly consultative," he said.

Hugh Smith, managing director of Computercorp, Western Australia's largest Compaq dealer, suggested this approach is typical of the vendor's attitude in general.

"We've talked to various Compaq people over the last few months and I don't feel as though we have been neglected any more than usual," he quipped.

Fiona Dicker, general manager of Compaq distributor Dicker Data, attended Compaq's recent national roadshow detailing the vendor's channel plans and described it as informative. But she did concede that the implementation process will not be easy.

Difficult integration

"It's going to be a tough six months," Dicker told ARN.

After initial contract negotiations with Compaq following the Digital acquisition - it was previously a large Digital distributor - Tech Pacific has had few surprises during the integration process, according to Fiona Stewart, the company's public relations manager.

But like Dicker, Stewart expects the next two quarters to be hard work, especially for distributors.

"It's going to be a very competitive and interesting time for the distribution channel over the next few months," Stewart said. "The number of distributors is obviously going to have to decrease at some point and I guess Compaq will make a decision on the performance of the people in play."

Indeed, Stewart contends Compaq's channel strategy may be so complex that it will have to miss its April 1999 implementation deadline.

"But we certainly hope it can be resolved by then and look forward to being part of that market," she added.


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