SCO will sell its network computing software, Tarantella, directly to customers, but is trying to reassure resellers and distributors that its first foray into direct sales is a temporary move to get the product established.
Geoff Seabrook, senior vice president of SCO's Emea region, said: ?The channel trusts us; we?ve never shafted them. We understand their needs for inventory and margin. There is a direct sales motion to start Tarantella but it will be channel fulfilled, ultimately. We are committed to get the channel in as soon as possible.?
Sources at this week's SCO Forum 97 conference said the move will be difficult to manage for both the vendor and its channel and few were convinced that SCO will return to a 100 per cent indirect sales model.
?Resellers will miss out, SCO will have to establish direct salesforces and the channel does not want to lose its tidy business, thank you. The SCO name has marketing and branding issues to face while its existing salesforce, the channel, has to decide whether or not to trust the company,? one attendee said.
A reseller at the event said: ?In the end, I?ll stick with SCO because their existing business is worthwhile for me even if Tarantella falls flat. But I haven?t got that much choice, really.?
SCO has won the minds of systems builders but Seabrook admitted it cannot compete with Microsoft?s marketing of Windows NT. ?The trouble is that Dilbert?s boss is making the decision and thinks he should have NT, but Tarantella solves more problems for him.?
Tarantella is SCO?s universal application server software, which can be introduced into a client/server environment to turn it into a network computing system, with PCs running as thin clients with a Web-based desktop.
SCO has recently completed clearing its channel of excess product. Over the past year, it has shrunk its inventory in Europe by around $5 million and in the US by roughly $18 million. Chief executive Alok Mohan also said the company has begun work on electronic software distribution for its channel.
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