Some names have been changed. No one is innocentWhat's in a name?by The Wounded VultureNames mean plenty if you're BBF, one of Australia's most preferred distributors of peripheral products. This Melbourne-based distributor may have cunningly put a damper on the charge into Australia of global distribution king Ingram Micro. How is that possible, you ask?

BBF has put dibs on the trading name of Ingram Micro with the Australian Securities Commission. The company uses the Ingram Micro name on all official documents, and speculators might argue that the distributor has been trading some products under that name on the off chance that Ingram might attempt to bust up the local market.

Of course, it's no coincidence that Ingram is now making a concerted bid to enter the Australian market, and ARN spies are eagerly awaiting BBF's next move. Will the company continue to put a spanner into Ingram's global domination plans or will Ingram simply disregard BBF's minimal trading capacity under the name Ingram Micro by setting up its own premises?

Only time will tell.

IBM surprises Compaq from nowhere

by Channel Spice

Despite dominating the industry limelight over the past quarter, Compaq is destined to barely scrape in ahead of the fast-moving IBM in IDC PC market research. One well-placed source let slip to ARN Tabloid that a mere 500 units could separate the rivals in shipments of desktop PCs, notebooks and PC servers during second quarter.

Perhaps Ian Penman can fix all that though - he apparently thinks so, at least. According to one mole inside the new Compaq, Penman himself intends to have a more hands-on approach with the company's marketing strategies now that it has absorbed Digital.

That of course leaves a question mark over the role of the yet-to-be-appointed marketing director. "It'll be someone with a nice resume, but who'll pretty much do what they're told," Tabloid's spy said.

Of most interest to us reptiles is the source's assertion that one of Penman's plans is to siphon company information to journalists "who he can trust". A few words of advice, Mr Penman - don't go there!

Where do you get 'em

by Eye Wreckin

A reader contacted us last week trying to make sense of the advertising push by a branded chip manufacturer to get its latest and greatest chips recognised as being perfectly suited to the Windows platform.

Interested in the chip and wanting to incorporate it into some systems he was building, the reseller couldn't understand why the chips would be advertised by a "sole Australian distributor" which, when contacted, claims not to be able to supply the product boxed for resale. He said boxed versions of these chips for retail "are available in most other parts of the world, including New Zealand", and wonders why not here.

He said enquiries to the chip company's listed number are greeted by a "Nazi receptionist, who is obviously just manning a phone line". Her answer to every enquiry about the product was to divert the caller to said distributor. Our informant suspects that the chips being offered may be a batch that were unwanted in larger markets before being dumped in Australia.

Eyes front

Where better to entertain a bunch of network techies than SegaWorld at Darling Harbour. That was the venue for Novell's BrainShare social last week, where video games jostled with sponsors bearing gifts for the attention of attendees.

It might be hard to believe, but the jokes from MC Nick Jackson, Novell's director of business develoment, photographed here with ARN publisher Susan Searle, were even worse than his hideous garb for the night. And judging from this picture it wasn't just the video games and sponsors that managed to grab Nick's attention.


Two of the country's largest national distributors are going head to head on the recruitment front.

Word has it that the residents of one compound are getting itchy feet, and at least one happy camper has switched camps. It seems there may well be a few more to follow.

'Tis a global market, after all. What multinational PC manufacturer has run ads in the US showing its boxes as being so easy a child can set them up and connect to the Net, while another vendor's boxes prove too difficult for an MBA college student? You'll never know. The two companies have a partnership of sorts here, and local folks don't even want anyone to know the ads exist. The mere mention set off an instant panic from where our man on the grassy knoll was watching.

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