Fujitsu PC resellers have expressed concern after it emerged the vendor will funnel sales from a new online store through one partner. While it is great news for Sydney-based platinum reseller, Kepastore, others are angry that they were not informed of the decision.
The site - www.lifebook.com.au - offers the full range of Fujitsu notebooks, tablet PCs, home entertainment PCs and accessories.
"As a long serving and major partner reselling Fujitsu notebooks I find it quite disappointing that Fujitsu PC has opted to use a competitor for order fulfilment on its online store," said Hasan Yuvarajah, general manager of Victoria-based reseller chain, Computerworld.
"It is more worrying that we were never consulted about this decision. It certainly compromises our position - we promote its product and in many instances refer customers to the Lifebook website. We will certainly have to think twice about doing this in future."
Yuvarajah planned to contact Fujitsu for further explanation.
Another left unimpressed by the move is Adrian Sellick, general manager of SA reseller chain, Cherry Computers Group.
"Everybody wants a slice of the cake and nobody wants to support a manufacturer who will not share revenue," he said.
Kepastore carries a wide portfolio of products from vendors including Apple, Sony, NetComm and Asus. When contacted by ARN, an employee confirmed the new website relationship but wouldn't provide further details until liaising with Fujitsu.
Distribution partners have offered different views on the Fujitsu announcement. Westan boss, Victor Aghtan, knew the move was coming but was not concerned because of declining Fujitsu sales.
"Fujitsu has informally discussed this with us in the past," he said. "Normally, we'd have a problem with a move like this but our work with Fujitsu has declined over the last year or so and it isn't significant anymore."
Despite general disillusionment, Aghtan denied the website necessarily marked the beginning of the end for the relationship.
"[Dropping Fujitsu] isn't a foregone conclusion and there's always potential for things to get better," he said. "It all depends on how Fujitsu intends to evolve this new model."
Newly appointed distributor, Multimedia Technology (MMT), was more upbeat. General manager, John Hassall, was unaware of the online move but said it could prove to be a useful source of sales leads as long as it advertised recommended retail prices.
"If end-users can buy off the website at prices no one can compete with, it's pointless having other channels," he said, adding it was unlikely the new venture would undercut distributors and resellers.
Hassall likened the current situation to MMT's Sony distribution. Although the Japanese vendor has retail stores, they never compete with MMT and the channel because they keep prices firmly at retail.
"A lot of people go into those Sony stores to learn about the products then go and buy them through the channel," he said, "If Sony sold everything in its stores at distributor cost price we would have a problem."
Fujitsu issued a brief statement saying it had chosen to partner with Kepastore on the website project because it was already a totally online business. It hoped the site would grow its regional sales.