Ingram assault

The Australian IT channel may never be the same again.

The world's biggest distributor, Ingram Micro, last week got serious about the Australian market, buying Melbourne-based systems distributor ITG as well as signing up Microsoft and bringing Intel back on board.

In one fell swoop, Ingram's Electronic Resources Australia (ERA) has emerged as Australia's second largest distributor, represent-ing most of the key vendors, now including the essential Wintel combination.

"This is great news for resellers," claimed Greg Spierkel, Ingram Micro's Asia-Pacific president. "We'll be reaching into our cookbook and bringing a lot of exciting recipes to Australia, including capital programs, system bundles and financing."

Resellers largely welcomed the competition.

"We'll have more choice and we'll benefit from a larger range of products from all around the world," said Steve Stewart, general manager of Clear Technology Group. "The bigger the better for us. I can see better prices and better credit facilities as well."

Ingram's clear aim is to become a one-stop shop for Australian resellers.

"Ingram is a broad-based distributor, and it is our aim to be a broad-based distributor in this country too," said Spierkel.

ITG therefore represents something of a missing link. Previously, ERA has been considered a component distributor with expertise in supplying assemblers and OEMs.

"This gives us much stronger systems cap- ability. We were building that up through ER but this really gives us a kick-start," said Spierkel.

For the moment, ITG will fall under the Electronic Resources Australia banner. It is worth noting, however, that all other Ingram subsidiaries around the world operate as Ingram Micro.

Newly appointed ERA managing director Michael Shea will head up the merged organisation and will manage the components business, while Braham Shnider, ITG's general manager, will head up the systems business.

"As we become part of the Ingram Micro team, we will be able to better serve our customers, suppliers and employees as well as achieve a stronger market position," Shnider said.

As well as its systems capability, ITG brings talented management to ERA and a squeaky clean reputation. ERA's image was tarnished last year in the Intel chip fiasco, which saw it dropped as one of the chip giant's three distributors.