Toshiba merges AV and IT divisions

Toshiba merges AV and IT divisions

Toshiba has announced it will combine its AV and Information Systems divisions (ISD) from April 1. But restrictions will continue to be placed on AV product access to IT resellers.

ISD general manager, Mark Whittard, said it made sense to start developing products and pull together the two areas. The transition was expected to take place from April 1.

"Consolidating the whole product portfolio into one division made sense because we are calling on the same customer," he said. "We think it's a golden opportunity for Toshiba and our resellers to grow our revenues, businesses, make more margins and focus on the convergence of IT and AV."

Toshiba's AV products include LCD, plasma, CRT, rear-pro TVs, DVD players and recorders, STBs and PVRs. These will now sit alongside its line-up of notebooks, projectors, MP3 players, HDD camcorders, portable storage devices and accessories. Toshiba's IT distributors - Dicker Data, Ingram Micro and Cellnet - will be given access to the full range.

Whittard said the change would give the IT channel more opportunity to leverage AV products it might not have sold but are interested in getting into.

"It means a better experience in computing platforms with better screen displays, sound and visual quality, greater storage for digital data, video, images, music as well as being able to store, edit, archive and retrieve that data," he said.

"There is a lot of opportunity for resellers that are involved on the retail front that sell to consumers, particularly the mass merchants."

However, although products will be pooled into one division, Whittard said reseller access would be granted on a case-by-case basis. This would ensure resellers have the appropriate expertise for each product category, he said.

"Those that want to invest in the AV market will need to build their expertise and get trained," he said. "Sometimes it doesn't make sense to give all products to all people because you could end up with a price war. This doesn't help anybody because you get less of a retained margin.

"What we will do is build specialist roadmaps to help protect pricing and margins."

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