Stories by Ray Shaw

  • Up the Channel: Tough times ahead for independents

    Many moons ago I studied micro and macro economics (an economist is a trained professional paid to make guesses about the economy). Micro was what happened in your backyard and macro was what happened up the road. The laws of each are totally different and often conflicting. At a macro level, for example, some local distributors reported record January sales. That measures up to what the economists are saying about the world's growth at four per cent but most of this is attributed to developing giants like China. There is no doubt also that the business is shifting from IT specialists to mass market IT/CE retailers. Harvey Norman sales increased about 18 per cent in Q3 compared to the same period a year earlier but that's not the whole story.

  • Up the channel: How many do you want?

    How many do you want? This is the first question a supplier asks when a smaller retailer tries to negotiate on price. Let's face it - the supply chain is now solely focused on volume.

  • Up the Channel: Fighting back with a SWOT assessment

    Last time ('It's all about price, price, price', ARN, May 3, page 16), we looked at the adventures of Norman the specialist reseller. His lot was not a happy one because of major inroads into his business by CE stores, more direct sales being made by manufacturers and less channel support being provided.

  • GPS means Greater Profit Share

    ARN Home crosses the increasingly blurred boundaries between consumer electronics (CE) and information technology (IT). The market for Global Positioning Systems (GPS) is one that can be addressed by players from both camps.

  • Notebooks are go

    Notebooks now make up more than half of all PC sales in major consumer markets. The desktop is, or will be, dead in a few more years. Simply put, it is cheaper to produce millions of smaller, lighter notebooks than larger desktop PCs. Economy of scale is driving the trend but there are some significant pressures on the notebook market.

  • Up the channel: It's all about price, price, price

    Norman, a PC retailer once briefly worked for an unethical (and now bankrupt) company. He knows you can't support a massive advertising campaign and rapid expansion while selling at a 10 per cent margin without resorting to dirty tactics such as parallel importing, counterfeiting, carrying your own warranty (that makes it very difficult for users to get a repair), insurance scams and paying employees cash-in-hand to avoid superannuation and income tax.

  • It's time to get big or get out

    Consolidation is shrinking the number of top quality resellers but there has been significant growth in one-man bands and smaller consultancies, according to Acer's A/NZ managing director, Charles Chung.

  • Up the channel: Talking about an evolution

    <b>This year was the year of the unremarkable</b> - nothing earth shattering happened that would change the face of computing as we know it. It was evolution, not revolution. But that is not a bad thing for the channel - less obsolete inventory, longer lifecycles and falling prices as economies of scale were realised gave resellers a chance to breathe easy.

  • A battle to be won

    In the red corner we have the traditional phone system providers; in the blue are computer retailers and network support companies. At this stage, both have equal rights to claim this emerging space but VoIP logically sits more in the IT networking domain than that of the phone suppliers. However, like the multimedia convergence battle, will the IT industry lose another market it is best equipped to service?

  • UP THE CHANNEL: You want ethics with that?

    By Ray Shaw | 28 September, 2005 16:09

    It is not hard to single out those IT businesses that deal ethically with clients. Conversely, or is that perversely, it is much harder to pick those who don't and you often don't find out until you have a problem.

  • UP THE CHANNEL: Too good to be true

    I noted Microsoft was awarded $720,000 in damages in July against Queensland reseller, Magic Computers, after it was found to have loaded unlicensed Microsoft software onto hard drives between 1998 and 2004.

  • The changing face of storage

    When the first consumer hard disks were released in the early 80s they were 5.25 inches wide, weighed more than a house brick, had capacities of 5-10MB and were commonly called Winchester disk drives. The cost with an ST506 controller card was about $1000 - but then early PCs were worth about $3000 so I suppose it's all relative.

  • UP THE CHANNEL:Effective direct mailing

    I love junk mail, not just IT related stuff either. It keeps me up to date with new products, special offers, street pricing and it can often lead me to shops I would not normally use.