Hewlett Packard will tomorrow unveil what it described as a ?streamlined? distribution model which shows all the signs that it is following Compaq?s routes to market.
HP will appoint Raphael of Italy to sell HP Brio systems as well as Dutch company Infoproducts for the range of its HP Vectra machines.
That is likely to upset UK distributor Northamber but more especially German company Actebis.
Jos Brenkel, the marketing manager of the HP PC Co in Europe, said: ?HP?s Extended Configuration to Order (ECTO) programme, will be extended to 10 channel partners by the end of next year.?
He said that if HP is successful it will make it a contender to be number one by the year 2000 in selling PCs to the corporate market.
Brenkel described the model as including additional ?cost efficiencies? including lower end user prices, increased availability of customised PCs and faster time to market for its products.
The build to order will start beyond Europe in early 1998, he implied. ?HP will begin manufacturing PCs based on channel orders rather than forecasts. At the same time, select resellers will assemble, customise and distribute HP PC models from components supplied to the reseller,? he said.
That follows IBM?s earlier move to a model but could cause channel conflict as Northamber is one of its favoured customers.
HP stopped short of announcing a Compaq-like Web site where people could buy PCs, later to be sourced by distributors and still described as indirect.
But it is obviously responding to moves to make its PCs cheaper and more available to a wider tranche of resellers.
Nick Eades, senior product manager at the IBM PC Co, said: ?Everyone is trying to streamline things and get more stock turns. In our case, resellers are getting stuff delivered to their customers from distributors.?
He said that while IBM will never go direct, IBM, too, has an advanced reseller programme. ?We might link business partners to our Web site,? he said. ?We won?t sell direct by any means including the Internet,? he said. ?We?ll be a good partner to the channel.?
Compaq was unavailable for comment.
* In other news, HP will introduce Kayak workstations, differentiated from the Vectra range, which will still remain. The HP Brio, however, is targeted at small business customers and is likely to be the model of machine involved in the company?s revamped distribution and channel model.
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