Editorial: Switching horses

Editorial: Switching horses

It's been a big week for LAN Systems, with the distributor picking up one vendor partner at the expense of Ingram Micro and forming a closer bond with another it had previously shared with Express Data.

The addition of power protection vendor, Emerson, to its vendor stable (see page 6 of ARN March 8 issue) will be welcomed by LAN resellers as an extra product they can push into existing accounts as well as future sales.

Emerson's reason for switching horses makes sense. It is a very big company but doesn't have a solid brand name in the Australian UPS market. It's easy to believe Emerson has been feeling a little unloved in the country's largest vendor list with Ingram also carrying the market leader, APC. Only last week, several UPS vendors used the ARN product feature to suggest demand was growing for double conversion technology. LAN must now demonstrate that it can help Emerson shift more of this high-end gear than it had been able to do while partnering with Ingram.

Check Point has also thrown its weight behind LAN Systems this week (see page 4 of ARN March 8 issue) after a lengthy review of its channel operations saw the security vendor part company with longstanding distribution partner, Express Data.

It is good news for LAN but the reaction of Express Data boss, Ross Cochrane, left the impression that he won't be crying himself to sleep over the decision. Check Point made up a tiny portion of ED sales and the vendor was probably feeling restricted by the distributor's close allegiance to Cisco.

LAN Systems has been selling Check Point for seven years but it is also an embedded Cisco partner. Its decision to launch a security practice with Check Point as a foundation member was obviously music to Scott McKinnel's ears.

In other news, the PC maker formerly known as IBM continued its attempts to convince small business owners they can afford its machines by announcing three AMD-based models as part of its Lenovo 3000 series (see page 6 of ARN March 8 issue).

Its local product guru was at pains to insist the new models won't cannibalise its Intel sales because they will hit different market segments but I wouldn't be too sure. True enough, there's a hell of a difference between a 1.6GHz Sempron processor and a 3GHz Pentium 4.

But the top of its AMD models comes with a 2.2GHz Athlon 64 and some small business owners will take that speed hit to save $250. It also has an 80GB hard drive, half the size of its Intel counterpart, but how many small business owners need 160GB to run a few spreadsheets anyway?

Finally, the lengthy restructuring process at Cellnet has seen its half-year profits fall through the floor (see page 1 of ARN March 8 issue). It has been a fairly bumpy ride for the Queensland-based distribution group since new boss Adam Davenport took the reins last May. The streamlining process has also seen it shed 75 staff along the way.

But to be fair, Cellnet did record a significant jump in sales for the same six-month period and Davenport has never claimed he would provide a quick fix to the problems he inherited. He has now declared that Cellnet will stop focusing internally and turn its attentions to the market. The time to judge his progress will be six months or even a year from now.

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