Microsoft is changing its UK channel structure and increasing the number of disties from six to 10.
But it's not all good news - the three broad-line distributors Bell Microproducts, C2K and Ingram Micro - face an X-Factor style competition which will see one of them dropped.
While all three keep their Microsoft contracts for now, in six months time Microsoft will decide who stays...and who goes.
Luckily, there will be no actual singing. Instead, Microsoft will set all three companies targets - not just for total sales, but to judge their ability to provide "an improved service to resellers and to deliver new customers through increased demand generation; to drive up deal size through investments in channel training and certification and the full use of the MS product portfolio; and to provide supporting services to help value added resellers close more deals".
Westcoast will be a specialised small business distie. Gem will focus on independent retail but won't continue selling Open Licensing. Computers Unlimited will distribute packaged products including Office for Macs.
OEMs can now buy MS products from Ingram Micro, C2K, Westcoast, VIP, MicroP, Blue Solutions, Actebis, Ideal Hardware, Northamber, and Enta.
Package product is available from Ingram, C2K, Westcoast, Gem, Ideal, and Computers Unlimited.
Annuity contracts go through C2K, Ingram Micro, Westcoast and Ideal. ®