IBM has extended its controversial BuyDirect campaign to France because of the success of the scheme in the UK.
Doug LeGrande, Personal Systems Group (PSG) general manger for EMEA at IBM, said it will implement a direct sales model across Europe following last year's successful UK launch.
LeGrande said the campaign had won over a "significant number of new customers" because it had made it easier for users and small businesses to buy products they had difficulty finding before.
He also claimed the campaign had a "positive effect" on resellers, helping to stimulate increased demand for products. "Our feedback is telling us that it's helping VARs because of the halo effect from the advertising," he said. "We are happy with the project we launched in the UK."
He said IBM will continue to expand the number of products it sells direct, but it is unlikely to allow UK VARs to buy from the BuyDirect site, a plan which will shortly be implemented in the US (CRN, 19 April). "It's not impossible that we won't, but we already have 600 business partners that deal directly with IBM in EMEA. In the US that figure is in single digits," LeGrande said.
LeGrande said IBM will be unveiling several initiatives and Edge of Network (EoN) products over the next few months to stimulate demand for its PC products.
This will include a 'Best Buy' programme. This will allow resellers to select and pre-configure desktops, Thinkpads and Netfinity servers for consumers and small businesses. These will be delivered within nine days of ordering.
He added that while first quarter revenue for the PSG group had fallen, IBM will continue its efforts to lower its channel inventories and improve the channel's efficiency.
Last week, IBM posted turnover down five per cent from $20.32bn (£12.7bn) to $19.3bn for the first quarter ended 31 March amid declining sales of desktops and mainframes, and flat growth in its IBM Global Services arm. Profit increased from $1.47bn to $1.52bn.
Hardware sales plunged by 12 per cent, while Global Services and software sales were flat at nine per cent and three per cent growth respectively.
The decision to exit the retail PC business cost the company $400m.
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