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Vertical independence threatens channel strife

Vertical independence threatens channel strife

As we continue to approach what must be considered not only the end of the millennium, but the end of an era, a number of interesting questions present themselves, especially in relation to the ever-changing face of the computer industry as we and others are knowing it today.

Even so, certain pervasive truths can be said to exist, as they once did in more historically astute times. As technology expands in geometric leaps and bounds, the requisite costs to consumers appear to crumble like so many rotten biscuits falling off thetable, only to be swept up by the surly kitchen staff. In this case, that "staff" is made up of a number of key IT players. Nonetheless, if performance doubles every 18 months (with the price being halved over the same stretch of rocky, dusty road), surely similar paradigms can be said to exist in other - less rambunctious - sectors of the industry.

Schooner, middy: What's the difference?

Of course, certain topics are always going to have a longer shelf life than others. If, for example, someone were to tell me (12Ð14 months ago) that hard disk space was a relative concept, I would've shown them the door. Today, in the here and now, I'd be the one climbing in the trunk. Once in there, I'd no doubt begin shouting and thrashing around. However, the point of doing so would be lost on most vendors, if you take my meaning to the cleaners.

More to the point, it's interesting, in a contemporary sense, to juggle the definitions of some of the everyday terms that appear on the horizon. For example, "value-add" has taken its rightful place in many of our collective unconscious dialogues with friend and foe alike as a self-signifying term of approval. But when we take out an implement of some sort and scratch beyond the surfaces, "value-add" takes on another interpretation of events, and one that cannot easily escape even the dimmest of eyes.

Under the terms of this dilemma, if we - as an industry in the throes of abrupt change - seek to add value wherever it is possible, we are also educating the consumer of the likelihood that that "value" that is being "added" may, in fact, be subtracted through a process of diminishing returns, vis-a-vis the spoiled broth of ATM.

The abovementioned rings especially true when contrasted with the nefarious comings and goings of the "strong willed" contingent and their aptly named cousins, the Palookas. As is so often the case, the squeaky wheel is thought to be deserving of oil, when, in fact, any common lubricant would suffice. Having said that, the question remains: are there certain instances when margin hopping is acceptable, if not downright advisable? If you're looking for answers from me, you've come to the wrong place. I haven't got any.


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