3Com has terminated a long-standing agreement that allowed Dell Computer to sell 3Com networking gear, becoming the third supplier since July to cancel a reseller agreement with Dell as the PC maker ventures into new markets.
"Dell has made it clear that it aspires to gain market share in networking, and 3Com won't help Dell legitimise its sales offering with 3Com's products or 3Com's channel program benefits," said Catriona Parker, a 3Com spokeswoman. Dell was notified last week and has to stop selling 3Com products as soon as possible under the 3Com partner program, she said. Dell no longer has official reseller status with 3Com and therefore will no longer derive any benefits of having been a Gold Partner, but can pursue other avenues to sell 3Com products outside of the partner program, she said.
3Com's announcement follows that of network hardware giant Cisco Systems, which said last week it would drop Dell as a reseller from September 27. Hewlett-Packard (HP) recently stopped supplying Dell with printers.
Dell has started selling its own networking switches and has indicated that it may sell printers under its own brand. The company is also expected to introduce Dell-branded PDAs (personal digital assistants).
"We have been a single source for our customers and we have provided 3Com and Cisco products. We will continue to work with our customers to provide them what they need," John Coulston, a Dell spokesman in Europe said.
On the local front, Dell is expected to continue supplying 3Com, HP and Cisco products to its customers, but will buy them from distributors rather than being supplied directly from the manufacturer.