Yet another hardware vendor will pursue the direct sales model, with NEC today unveiling NEC Online -- an e-commerce portal for its commercial division.
The company maintains its online strategy is designed to help rather than hinder the channel, working as a "demand generator" to push customers through to value-add providers, according to the general manager for NEC Australia's commercial division, Julian Walthew.
"It is more of an information centre than a shop site," Walthew maintained.
"But we are saying if customers do really want to buy online, they can. "We need to compete against the likes of Dell," he added.
NEC claims rather than creating channel conflict, the portal is designed to help resellers generate sales, promising pricing on the consumer site would protect reseller margins.
Walthew pledged the site would only sell a limited range of items such as the Versa range of notebooks and "lifestyle" PCs.
The portal also includes a Web site exclusive to resellers, designed to help the channel with stock availability, downloadable forms, support, price books, training material and warranty information.
NEC also announced a new range of desktops, including the PowerMate ES slimline series, the PowerMate 2000 microdesktop PC and the ValueStar III. In the server range NEC has launched a range of Express 5800 servers designed for a number of customer segments, from SMEs to enterprise computing.