Convincing NetApp to give them sole distribution is a feather in the cap for Distribution Central duo, Scott Frew and Nick Verykios and their new storage business. Every business needs an anchor customer and the NetApp brand provides instant credibility in the storage market. Given that both Frew and Verykios have played major roles in the history of LAN Systems, with which they are now in competition, it's easy to imagine them in fits of giggles with the stroke of marketing genius that saw them name their new storage subsidiary, SAN Systems. No doubt we have Nick to thank for that one. The folks over at LAN Systems are no doubt less impressed and their official name change to Westcon Group, due at the end of February, probably can't come quick enough now.
For Avnet, the loss of NetApp is a blow from a strategic point of view because the distributor has made a lot of noise about building a storage practice and this relationship was to be the central pillar of those plans. Reading between the lines, the reaction of Avnet's general manager, Gavin Lawless, suggests there was little or no consultation leading up to the split. Lack of effective vendor communication is a major frustration for resellers and distributors but, in this case, I think it's unlikely to hurt Avnet's bottom line too much. NetApp is best known as an enterprise vendor today and, although it's making strides to engage the channel, it still does a lot of business direct. However, to have lost the agency in just over a year seems a harsh fate.
There was big news over at Symantec last week with local managing director, David Sykes, and channel VP, John Donovan, both leaving the company. The security giant has had a challenging year and it seems likely both men have fallen on their swords. Being market leader is a nice place to be but retaining that position of dominance is always a challenge and can sometimes be a thankless task - staying ahead of the pack is simply expected so look out if a competitor starts to eat away at your market share.
In the Australian market, Trend Micro, in particular, has had some success at eating into Symantec's dominance, especially in the consumer AV market. The increased focus on security at Microsoft also looms as a major challenge to the growth plans of Symantec and other security vendors. Having said that, challenges can be a good way of revitalizing a business and Intel is a prime example.
The chipmaker, which holds an even more dominant position in its market, came under pressure from AMD in recent times and started to see its huge market share whittled away, especially in the x86 market. But Intel has responded strongly to that challenge with major product improvements and is probably as dominant now as it ever was. Competition is usually good for all concerned, even if it doesn't always feel that way when you're under pressure.