Sun Microsystems has pulled its leading distributors into a head-on competition after the vendor unveiled a reseller initiative that will see its fragmented software channel unite under one banner.
Computer 2000 and ICL Multivendor Computing (ICLMC) are the two distributors for Sun software and hardware respectively, and both are locked in talks with the vendor to discuss how they can cash in on the Sun Software Alliance programme, which is to be established imminently in the UK.
Simon Welch, marketing manager for Sun at ICLMC, said: "We're not a Sun software distributor at present, but we are extremely interested in being a UK distributor. We were in negotiations with SunSoft and are now renegotiating, but no decisions have been made yet."
Tony Stirrup, enterprise software manager at C2000, which is the sole distributor of Sun software in the UK, said: "We are at the beginning of discussions relating to a new channel programme. I'm looking for clarification about how the software and hardware business will co-exist because there's no previous history of co-operation."
However, Stirrup added he was unconcerned that ICLMC was negotiating with Sun. "If ICLMC wasn't playing for it then I'd have to ask why. There is always room for competition but I'm in a better position for software than ICLMC is, and I trust we'll still be the key software channel in the future."
The Sun Software Alliance programme is a worldwide initiative that the vendor claims will unify and simplify its various software channels, as well as bring it closer to its strategic partner Netscape. The programme's three qualification levels will reach a broader set of software resellers, distributors and systems integrators, the vendor stated.
Guy Martin, Northern European marketing manager at Sun's software and technology division, said that although the programme will be relevant in the UK, "a few detailed changes" will be announced shortly. He declined to discuss details.
ICLMC has been the sole PC and workstation distributor for Sun since 1991 and its contract was renewed in 1996 for three years. Storm takes care of Sun's storage systems distribution, while Horizon Open Systems is Sun's Internet master reseller.
For more stories see 14 April issue of PC Dealer
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