Microsoft has prepared secret plans to push most of its software through electronic distribution in 1997. But its four UK delivery service partners (DSPs) were left in the dark as the software giant renewed an agreement with them for another year.
According to a Microsoft source at Comdex/Fall last week, it plans to make between 70 and 75 per cent of both its application and operating system software available by electronic means, including the use of CD-Roms and the Internet.
One DSP who declined to be named said: ?They haven?t told us they?re doing it but I suspect they wouldn?t anyway. We?d probably be the last people to be told.? He said that Microsoft UK had just signed up its distribution partners for another year. ?They won?t tell us what they?re doing,? he said. ?We?re in the situation where we?ve signed a contract for a year and they can?t renege on that.?
He said that MS could eliminate costs and cut down on grey market activity by implementing the scheme.
Another of the DSPs said: ?I?m staggered they haven?t found technology to do it before. This has always been a nightmare for us and we knew it would come at some stage. For some of the smaller [software products] it might be possible but with software like Windows NT it would be very difficult.?
George Evans, newly promoted managing director of Datrontech Europe, another of Microsoft?s DSPs, said that electronic distribution was inevitable. ?We have our own plans in place and you?ll see us trading over the Internet by May next year and actually taking orders. The Internet breaks all the boundaries and lets us sell across all territories.?
Microsoft was unable to comment at press time.
* Datrontech won an award as Intel?s European distributor of the year. The prize was announced at a conference over last weekend.
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