Thin-client vendor Network Computing Devices (NCD) has signed an alliance with Hewlett-Packard, under which HP will sell NCD's products through its indirect sales channel and direct sales on a worldwide basis.
HP has claimed it can produce a complete NCD-based thin-client solution incorporating HP servers, thin-client hardware, management software and support.
Eric Grayson, director of central European operations at NCD, said the threat to the company's channel partners from HP's direct sales will be negligible.
"More than 80 per cent of HP's total distribution goes through the channel.
There will always be a bit of conflict, but direct sales are aimed more at the large software and hardware resellers such as Computacenter, and not the SME businesses the channel tends to provide for."
Grayson's verdict was echoed by Lee Whincup, a pre-sales consultant at application service provider ESoft.
He said direct sales are not too much of a threat to VARs at present, and there is a lot more to thin clients than just plugging them in. Without a secure infrastructure, they are useless.
"Let them go direct, it's not going to work," he said. "It has happened before, like when HP rebranded Wyse Winterms and its NetVectra failed."
HP will market the NCD Network Computer (NC200 and NC400), NCD ThinSTAR Windows-based Terminals and NCD ThinPATH software. NCD products, which will still carry the NCD brand name, are scheduled to be available through HP by the middle of this month.
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