It’s make or break time

It’s make or break time

Editorial: One battle ends as another begins

The writing was on the wall back in July, but TodayTech’s departure from the Australian distribution landscape was only finally confirmed last week when the company appointed voluntary administrators (see page 6).

Three months after losing its most significant and longstanding vendor supplier contract with Intel, the distributor pulled the plug on its Australian business after nearly 20 years.

News of TodayTech’s demise was saddening, but inevitable. The local distribution market has gone through a massive shift in recent years as global players stepped into this geography, and ICT products became increasingly commoditised. The maturity of the industry has also prompted consolidation and innovation, which has shaken up the distribution mix and pushed those who couldn’t adapt, out.

Increasingly finding efficiencies has been one way for some players to get the necessary volumes to compete, but most distributors have also had to branch into new markets, or come up with value-added services to remain relevant. TodayTech was unable to make the transition into the new world, despite the efforts of its directors to source more finished products and provide hands-on service to its reseller base.

The company was also a victim of the trend away from buying local PCs to multinational ones, which affected not only its own PC assembly business, but also its predominantly whitebox customer base. The switch to mobile devices has also left less opportunities for desktop PCs.

As a result, TodayTech joins the graveyard alongside Optima, BCN Technology and Digiland, who were unable to redefi ne their business models and who suffered similarly unceremonious ends.

But while one battle was ending, another was beginning in the Federal Court. The copyright infringement case between Australian ISP, iiNet, and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), acting on behalf of 34 film studios, kicked off on October 6 (see page 1). You can fi nd our analysis piece on the factors leading up to the case, as well as a timeline of events, on page 12.

While the landmark case is certain to dominate news headlines for months to come, some industry experts we spoke to suggested a verdict against iiNet is unlikely to make consumers change their behaviour or stop downloading illegal copies of films, which is what AFACT wants to stamp out. But it could do significant harm to the ISP community.

It’s a big case with industry ramifications and one to watch. Another significant news announcement last week was the deal struck between Moneytech and Ingram Micro (see page 1). After months of negotiations, sourcing international signatures and agreeing to terms and conditions, Ingram Micro has brought Moneytech on to supply credit options to some 3000 of its smaller resellers.

Getting Ingram on-board a significant coop for Moneytech, who has spent the past seven years building up its reseller customer base. The two have branded the deal an opportunity for resellers to access fl exible credit terms and limits, something that has been increasingly harder to come by in the last 12 months. I welcome your feedback on the news.

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