US distributor Microage has signed to assemble Sun Microsystems? Ultrasparc servers, in a deal that could pave the way for similar European contracts.
T plc, formerly Technology, Sun?s master reseller and distributor in the UK, already works closely with the vendor on machine installation and would be the hot favourite for a deal. But other specialist distributors and assemblers, including Northamber and Hardware 2000, could also make a strong case for a contract.
According to John Pattenden, Sun's UK server product marketing manager, said that T plc has the skill to install and integrate boxes on customers' sites. ?We have accreditation programmes in place which give our corporate resellers the skills to do that,? he said. ?We have to draw a line in terms of fully testing configurations and allowing our customers flexibility in how they configure they?re machines.?
Microage and Sun expect to hammer out an agreement in the next few days that affects only the US, according to a company representative. "A different unit takes care of that in the UK," he said. A Sun representative made no comment on the future of Sun?s European assembly.
UK assembly deals with major PC vendors have become more common in recent months, and include the huge agreement made last year between Northamber and IBM. But server assembly contracts, like Sun?s with Microage, could open a more lucrative market for distributors and assemblers used to the lower sales margins and higher volumes associated with PCs.
Chet Silvestri, president of the vendor?s semiconductor subsidiary Sun Microelectronics, said Sun aims to push the Ultrasparc into Web server markets and the traditional territory of the PC. "Our goal is to make this same server technology available to PC resellers," he said.
Microage has also signed to assemble Digital PCs, alongside OEM systems deals with vendors including Apple, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and IBM, at its US integration centre. The US dealer giant also holds a 25 per cent stake in UK-based Genysis, but that operation is small.
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