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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Resellers a bit edgy over recent company collapseI have followed with interest the rapid, but perhaps not unexpected collapse of Edge Technology in Australia. Over the past five or six years we have sold many hundreds of Edge systems. However, about 18 months ago it became obvious that Edge had taken its "eye off the ball" as far as the main game was concerned.

When we originally started dealing with them they were primarily a computer assembler and distributor and they performed this function reasonably well. We never had any problem with warranty work; it was undertaken promptly and efficiently.

Sometime during 1998 we noticed a significant shift in its business emphasis with the bundling of low price "Internet boxes".

Our association over the past 12 months has been only connected with repair work on existing systems still covered by the original Edge warranties.

Although this work was undertaken I wondered how long they could continue to survive in the market if they were no longer selling new systems. A few days before the inevitable happened, we dropped off a KTX monitor for warranty repair at the Melbourne office. When we went back a few days later to collect the monitor I found the premises completely stripped. Further investigation with the receivers has suggested that no one knows what happened to all the goods taken from the branch offices. It now appears that our chances of recovering, or even locating the monitor, are next to zero.

My concern is that these goods were not the property of Edge, but were the property of one of our customers. Am I mistaken or does this constitute "old fashioned theft" on the part of Edge or other persons unknown? Name and company withheldWhat a total disgrace Johnson Wang and Edge Technology are! Our own businesses had been a long-standing reseller/distributor of Edge products over an approximate nine-and-a-half year duration. During that same period, we have estimated that nearly 90 per cent of our purchased products were directly sourced from Edge Technology.

Obviously, not only are these Edge products now without warranty for all resellers, but this leaves any legitimate computer business in great jeopardy.

It's no small wonder that the computer industry overall has such a disgraceful name when we have such disreputable, unscrupulous wholesalers who'll leave their dealers in such circumstances, in addition to myriad computer resellers doing the same thing and leaving Australia for overseas destinations.

As with any legitimate computer business, this now increases the pressure in trying to [cover] clients' warranties for the various products purchased . . .

It's a total disgrace on Wang's behalf!

After receiving notification of the Edge collapse, I was later personally informed that, upon seizure by the liquidator/receiver, all warehoused goods were being sold to the open public at or below valued costs. I fail to comprehend why any Edge resellers weren't invited to make purchase of these seized goods!The overall impact on our businesses from the now collapsed Edge Technology will be enormous due to the undesirable implications derived from its demise!John ThompsonDirectorPC Micro Solutions We were one of the many Edge resellers. We are quite a low-volume computer sales business, however, would like to obtain warranty information on Edge products. We already have a hard drive which needs to be RA'd and can envisage other warranty claims occurring during the next 12 months. As we were a cash account customer we have no bargaining power and do not expect to hear from the liquidators.

Thank you for your coverage of the Edge situation and your obvious interest in the resellers.

Kaye Richardson

MRPC Internet Services

With the demise of Edge Technology (and affiliated names), there are some valuable lessons to be learned by wholesale and retail.

Edge held the illustrious title of being one of the "cheapest" suppliers of computers and components for its 10-year history. This meant that many wholesalers could not compete with its pricing and still maintain a level of decent support and service to its resellers. Over this period I heard complaints from many resellers about the lack of quality, support and service from Edge Australia wide. But they kept buying from them! Why? Because they were "cheap".

You would think resellers now would understand that paying the cheapest price for something means they need to build in a margin for support and service of those products so that they can wear the cost, as a "cheap" wholesaler will not be able to (the "cheap" wholesaler doesn't have the margin). Therefore, if a reseller has to build this margin in, they might as well buy from a wholesaler who is a little more "expensive" who does supply the after-sale support and service.

As anybody who knows and understands the true nature of running a business, you can't run one on no margin (or very little) and expect to survive. High cashflow can sometimes slow the process of going broke, but it will happen eventually.

Yet from all this, do the resellers now learn and look to replace this supplier with a more "expensive" yet properly run wholesaler?Answer: NO!They simply run around looking for the new "cheapest" wholesaler and therefore perpetuate the process infinitum. If everyone is not making enough profit to supply proper after-sales support and service, someone will suffer. Invariably, apart from the businesses that fail because of this, the end customer almost always loses out.

I have been in the IT industry for over 18 years and in wholesale for the last six. Maybe a lesson will be learned, maybe not. I for one am not sad to see these types of wholesalers/distributors leave our marketplace. It's not sour grapes either. Just common sense.

Name and company witheld

As the MS trial continues, so does the debate . . .

In regards to your editorial on Microsoft, I'm disgusted with the ignorance of reality and the lack of technical competence of the US Government.

Have a look at some of the requirements of the Government and MS' responses:l Giving MS only four months to split into two companies.

HELLO?? There are 20,000+ employees in 75 countries. 74 of these countries are not under the jurisdiction of the US Government! It would take more than four months just to configure a decent network, let alone all the legal and business logistical issues involved in this.l MS must let any competitor look at the source code they need to get their application to work. This is in a "secure" environment.

HELLO?? How are you going to empty the heads of the competitors who look at MS' secret source code after they've looked at it?l MS must not do anything that would reduce the performance of a competitor's product on Windows.

HELLO?? How is anything going to improve if you do that?l MS must perserve the applications and OS businesses as viable businesses until the final judgement.

HELLO?? Is the Government listening? MICROSOFT IS ONE COMPANY - THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT!l MS will not take any action to affect the OEMs without giving them information about MS' future plans.

HELLO?? Was MS paid by the OEMs to write Windows to their specifications or are the OEMs buying a product of their own free will?l OEMs are allowed to modify anything they want before delivering MS' products to the customer.

HELLO?? Who is going to take responsibility when something doesn't work? Is that going to make life easier or harder for everyone?l Interoperability of MS' middleware. Microsoft shall create a secure facility where qualified representatives shall be permitted to study, interrogate relevant portions of the source code and any related documentation of Microsoft Platform Software for the sole purpose of enabling their products to Interoperate effectively.

HELLO?? Who said anyone had to use MS's middleware? If it doesn't work, use something else. Why should MS have to expose all its source code.l And on and on and on . . .

Sad. MS should delete all its hard drives, shut the company down, go down to the beach and then see how the Government likes that. (How many thousands of copies of Windows does the US Government rely on?)What would happen to the sharemarket/US economy if MS did that?How many IT professionals are shouting "split the company up" ? For more information and opinions on the Microsoft trial go to www.microsoft. com/presspass/trial/may00/05-31comments.aspBen LawsonManaging directorElectronic Desktop Solutions


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