Following ARN's report last issue that Novell is taking action against dealers who are selling NetWare products illegally, a Melbourne-based reseller identified by Novell as an illegal dealer is firing back.
Alloy Computer Products managing director John Williams says his company was importing NetWare products from a US supplier for "about three or four months, starting in late '95 and going through to early '96" when Novell (in Australia) came down on them.
"We were very open and explained what we were doing. We told Novell who the supplier was and asked them if there was a problem," Williams said. "But they never responded, so we asked them again. And they still didn't respond. The next thing I knew we were being branded as an 'illegal dealer'." Alloy was the only dealer cited by name in a Novell press release on the subject of illegal sales of NetWare.
Williams says Alloy stopped selling NetWare products as soon as Novell made its initial approach and continues to turn away client requests for NetWare products. "I don't want to get into a war with Novell, but I have a problem with their accusations. We're a legitimate dealer. We even have a Novell Certified Engineer on staff."
Novell managing director Graeme Inchley says Novell's intention was "not to make life difficult for Alloy, but to shed light on the problem of grey marketing. They were breaching the parallel importation provisions of the Copyright Act. It's as simple as that."
"Over the past five or six years grey marketing has dropped considerably, as prices for computer products in Australia have dropped to levels comparable with the US. However, we still see it in connection with some of the higher-end products like NetWare," said Jim Macnamara, chairman of the Business Software Association of Australia. "If a business imports products for the purpose of selling them, they're often going to be in violation of the Copyright Act."