QBE Insurance has dumped AST as its desktop PC provider because of problems with support since Samsung bought the beleaguered company last August, according to QBE officials.
As one of AST's largest Australian customers, QBE's decision is a big blow to Samsung's ambitions in the local market. At the time of the takeover, Samsung officials claimed their purchase of AST would be the linchpin for the company's entry into the IT computing space.
Samsung officials also said AST would remain an autonomous subsidiary.
But Marise Short, QBE's technology services manager, said the "focus has changed to the multimedia and home environments" since Samsung took over AST's products. Short claims this change in market direction has been the impetus for QBE getting rid of AST and choosing Dell.
The infrastructure revamp will see QBE rolling out 1200 new Dell Optiplex GSA desktop PCs across the company.
Short claimed the Dell contract was awarded after an exhaustive evaluation process which included a tender from IBM. But Big Blue will console itself with being given the green light over Compaq in QBE's technical evaluation of mid-range servers and providing ad hoc support for the company's intranet and Lotus Notes systems.
IBM was also named as second-tier supplier for QBE's PC infrastructure, should Dell be unable to provide particular configurations within nominated timeframes.
Short expects the PC rollout will be completed by the end of this year.