Slideshow: Top 12 channel stories of 2009

It was an up and down year filled with plenty of big stories as the channel surfed the rollercoaster of recession and recovery. These 12 stories were the biggest of the year.

  • Credit: Dreamstime
    S Central/ComputerCorp/Synergy merger: In March, this trio of Australian integration and services partners announced their intention to join forces to create a new local powerhouse. But after experiencing months of delays trying to get the deal over the line, S Central and ComputerCorp dropped the plans in August. ComputerCorp did however, retain Synergy Plus and rebranded to Synergy in December.
  • Ingram Micro operations restructure: The departure of veteran, Stuart Ellis, in February and closure of Adelaide and Canberra branches, followed by the acquisition of point-of-sale distributor, Vantex, kept Ingram staff busy in 2009. The restructure of its sales teams and redundancy of John Walters (pictured) in December, will also see a very different distributor emerge in 2010.
  • TodayTech falls: TodayTech was one of several distributors to exit the Australian market this year. Three months after losing its relationship with Intel, the company brought in voluntary administrators and was eventually liquidated.
  • AFACT/iiNet court case: The landmark copyright trial commenced in October and concluded in late November. During the proceedings, AFACT represented several high-profile Hollywood studios and accused iiNet of turning a blind eye to its users' "rampant" copyright infringements via BitTorrent. The ISP maintained its innocence, claiming the company had no legal obligation to take action on its customers' actions on its network. A verdict is not expected until early- to mid-next year.
  • Cellnet quits IT distribution: The ASX-listed distributor’s decision to exit the PC and notebook distribution market was followed up with news that it would completely quit the IT distribution space by July 1. The company sold its IBM division to Avnet and cut ties with remaining IT-based vendors in order to focus on its retail and telecommunications stream.
  • Windows 7: It might have been a global release, but there were plenty of Australian partners singing Windows 7’s praises by the time of its retail release on October 22. The new operating system is expected to help drive PC sales in 2010.
  • Leading Solutions enters administration: Over 160 staff were effected when Leading Solutions brought in voluntary administrators in October. Synergy wound up purchasing the company’s business assets and is still recruiting former Leading staff.
  • Fujitsu buys Kaz: IT took almost a year to get over the line, but Fujitsu eventually acquired Kaz from Telstra for $200 million.
  • Internet filtering: After a turbulent Internet filter trial, which was branded a "waste of taxpayers' money" by one ISP, the country's Internet clean-feed is one step closer to reality. The Federal Government announced earlier this month it was going to introduce a mandatory ISP-level filtering legislation into parliament whereby refused classification (RC) content will be blocked online.
  • National Broadband Network: Launched by the Government with fanfare in April, the $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) has been one of the most talked-about infrastructure projects this country has ever witnessed. The appointment of the public company, NBNco, to oversee the rollout was followed by with news that the Government was proposing structural separation of Telstra in telecommunications reforms.
  • S Central/Infotronics collapse: In what could arguably be called the most controversial deal this year, S Central sold its business assets to Brennan IT under a business purchase plan on November 2. Shortly afterwards, liquidators were appointed to its niche distribution arm, Infotronics. In the six weeks since the deal was first announced, receivers have subsequently been appointed to S Central’s book debts and a wind-up order against the organisation has been lodged.
  • M2 buys Commander’s SMB assets: Commander was one of the biggest headline stories in 2008, but the sale of its assets took 12 months to complete. M2 Telecommunications emerged as the purchaser of its SMB communications business for $19 million in June.
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