SolNet suffers from Sun snub

SolNet suffers from Sun snub

Twenty-five SolNet staff in New Zealand have lost their jobs, while their Australian counterparts remain in limbo, following the termination of Sun's reseller agreement with its former agent.

SolNet is currently in a bit of a pickle. The company in NZ had an exclusive arrangement with Sun's Australian HQ to represent it in NZ. But this came to an end after Sun's abrupt cancellation of SolNet Ltd's supply agreement on November 24.

The Sun partnership with SolNet in Australia has also been revoked because of what has occurred in New Zealand. Until that partnership is invoked again it will be a an uncertain period for local sales and technical staff.

However, SolNet's Wellington-based chairman Murray McNae says all NZ staff have either been offered jobs at or are in talks with other Sun NZ resellers and Sun itself.

McNae responded to Sun's cancellation by transferring the assets of the company to another entity, SolNet Solutions, of which he owns 48%, with the remainder equally split between three SolNet managers.

The new entity's assets include about 100 staff, who now form what McNae is calling a "vendor-independent, total solutions and services" provider.

Independence of Sun is "a real oppportunity", McNae says.

"It is what the market has been telling us they wanted as they saw we had a great team of people, but sometimes being too closely aligned to one vendor was an issue."

But McNae holds out some hope that the Sun relationship might not be completely over.

"We still have a dialogue with Sun. [Sun Australasia boss] Jim Hassell called me; I put a couple of suggestions to him last week about how a future relationship might look."

McNae is due to fly to Sydney on Friday to discuss the possibility of continuing to sell Sun software and education services, both areas in which SolNet has developed expertise.

One of the issues to be resolved is money SolNet owes Sun, which McNae characterises as the normal indebtedness of a reseller to its supplier.

Sun is believed to have issued a statutory demand for payment, and cited financial reasons as the rationale for ending SolNet's supply agreement.

(Howard Dahdah contributed to this report.)

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