Security appliance maker NetScreen has been forced to "look after" a reseller after a customer bought its products direct in the US and shipped them to the UK, cutting out the UK reseller.
The customer, UBS, has a direct relationship with NetScreen in the US and normally buys through reseller Netwise in the UK.
Gerard Allison, NetScreen's UK country manager, confirmed that UBS had bought products in the US and transferred them to Europe.
He admitted that the move was inappropriate, but unavoidable in this case.
"We could not stop UBS from buying direct in the US, because it is an existing direct customer. But we feel we have looked after the reseller involved," he said.
But one NetScreen reseller insisted that the vendor should ensure that this type of activity is prevented if it is to retain the trust of the channel, which has played a key role in its success over the past 12 months.
David Ellis, director of e-security at distributor Unipalm, indicated that talk of the incident is rife in the channel and agreed that NetScreen should clean up any channel conflicts.
"I am very surprised that, after spending a lot of time building a good channel, NetScreen would risk tearing it all up for a short-term gain," he said.
However, the vendor explained that, when existing direct contracts are finished, it will attempt to transfer to a purely indirect model globally.
Peter Crowcombe, NetScreen's director of marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa, claimed that the European and Asian indirect sales strategies have been a "huge success" and that the company is looking to adopt the model globally.
"When any vendor gets big, a conflict occurs. But the most important thing to us is our channel," he said.
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