Dell chief Michael Dell will tomorrow announce a plan to extend its 'build and buy' policy across Europe, a move that will put IBM and Compaq under intense pressure to sell direct to small businesses too.
Following adverts in today's national papers promising that Dell will extend its build and buy policy across Europe for the first time, the vendor will offer European small businesses an Internet connection to a Dell site where they can specify the make-up of the machines they want.
Both Joe McNally, Compaq UK's managing director, and Mike Lunch, IBM PC Co's UK managing director, have consistently denied they will follow Dell's example.
But Dell's incursion into direct selling in Europe is likely to upset the assemblers and clone makers - including major UK companies like Time - more than the traditional PC makers, which are focused more heavily on larger customers. Dell will make enemies instantly by destroying traditional channels, with implications for resellers and superstores that traditionally serve the small business sector.
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