It's two weeks since Com Tech's re-organisation, and the implications are only now being fully felt. On the distribution side Bay Networks has appointed a new distributor, Novell is setting up a new fulfilment channel, Lotus has appointed Tech Pacific as a volume distributor and Netscape is believed to be reviewing its distribution program.
While for the resellers this may result in greater choice in acquiring product, the creation of a network integration arm lays down an ethical minefield for Com Tech.
Firstly, there are a great number of resellers that introduced Com Tech to their clients in confidence, on the understanding that Com Tech would remain a distributor for the foreseeable future. Those resellers are now in competition with Com Tech, and are understandably anxious about the amount of knowledge that Com Tech holds about those accounts.
While managing director David Shein has made assurances that Com Tech will not be poaching business, there are a number of parties watching Com Tech closely to see how it does business and the accounts it works with.
Secondly, there are a number of integrators that were unaware of the changes until they were fact, and were trading and dealing with Com Tech in the belief that they were dealing with a distributor, not a competitor. Many of them are unhappy to have been kept in the dark regarding such an important announcement.
Com Tech has played a significant role in making many resellers as strong as they are today. While no-one is about to decry Com Tech's right to make a profit, until the new model is established it is certain to come under close scrutiny from resellers and vendors alike.