Sun Microsystems chairman Scott McNealy is refusing to bow to pressure from channel partners angry at the company's attitude to firms which also take on competing products.
Speaking at the company's first ever customer and partner event in Europe, McNealy stressed the importance of the channel in driving revenues in the future.
But in an exclusive interview with vnunet.com, McNealy made no secret of the fact that he took a dim view of those that were less than 100 per cent committed to Sun.
"I would not be upset with my team for working more closely with Sun-only resellers. If someone commits to the Sun platform, I think we should take better care of them," he said.
But McNealy denied that the company had lost its channel focus. "What you're not hearing is that we're not paying attention to the channel," he explained.
Leslie Stretch, UK managing director at Sun, admitted that the vendor's relationship with the channel had suffered as a result of its cost cutting focus.
"In the downturn we pulled all the levers. We were trying to keep our business in healthy financial shape and it hurt a lot of people. But in the last six months, the figures speak for themselves," he said.
"But our relationship with the channel is improving. Around 90 per cent of our business in Q1 went through the channel. It's the most powerful channel in the market. But they're very loyal."
Stretch added that initiatives are underway to address channel issues.
"I've promised I'll provide a richer technology resource for partners. And I'm ahead in investing in end-user coverage. Opportunities for the channel go right across the product range," he said.
Philip Dawson, senior programme director in Meta Group's infrastructure division, told vnunet.com that the push to the volume end of the market would have significant implications for the channel.
"It's changing the revenue stream," he explained. "But with the high tech, high margin products, will it be the same guys that fulfil 10 times the volume with less touch? Is it more of a box shifting function?"
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