Kiwi channel bites back

Kiwi channel bites back

If not content to shame New Zealand on the rugby field, Australian and South African distributors seem intent on dominating the kiwi IT channel as well.

Numerous incursions were made into the New Zealand channel last year by trans-Tasman invaders apparently unaware that this part of the world is already well endowed with IT middlemen. Wasn't the rise of the Internet supposed to bring with it disintermediation? (I just checked the dictionary to see if there was a shorter word for this process which you Australians might understand, but no luck.)Early in the year, LAN Systems came calling, snatching the Xylan agency from an incumbent New Zealand-owned distributor. Happily, the raider was in time to intermediate between Xylan (or Alcatel, as it's since become) and Telecom New Zealand, in a contract thought to be worth about $40 million. The only consolation for hurt New Zealand feelings is that Telecom has since gone forth and carried out a raid of its own, on AAPT.

Since then, there's been a steady march of Aussie marauders. Datatec/CNI sent over its general, Lyle Potgieter, to sew up the Anite New Zealand acquisition, rechristening it Logical. Potgieter made it plain that more targets were being sought on this side of the Tasman.

Late in the year, Siltek Asia-Pacific head Hugh Evans dropped in on Auckland vassal Agate New Zealand. Evans let it be known that the newly expanded group had big plans for New Zealand, intending to establish Prion and Siltek Communcations.

Another Melbourne invader paid a visit late in the year. BBF, which first slipped into the country about a year ago, was ready to step up its activities, with the aim of doubling its NZ business in the next 12 months.

The strange thing about all this interest in New Zealand from offshore is that we all thought the market was dead. Maybe its lifeblood is just being sucked away by vampires over the ditch.

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