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Distributors lose industry share in 2011

According to the last Canalys report, the growth of the distributors does not match those of the rest of the industry. The Canalys IT Industry major vendor (Apple, Cisco, Dell, EMC, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Lexmark, Oracle, Microsoft and SAP) grew revenue 18% worldwide on average in the first quarter of 2011. In comparison, the big four distributors (Arrow ECS, Avnet TS, Ingram Micro and Tech Data) managed 11%, with many smaller distributors faring worse than this. Distributors have blamed recent disappointing results on excess inventory, poor retail demand, sluggish sell-out and weakening economies. They have comforted themselves by making peer group comparisons where sales-out data shows "we are performing as well as the others, so please blame the market for our results, not us!" And while these reasons are valid justifications, Canalys argues that distributors need to see the bigger picture and realize that for the first time in a decade industry trends are conspiring against them.

According to the report, distribution thrived for the last 10 years thanks to rapid notebook and netbook adoption and the virtualization of the server room, with two-tier distribution at the heart of the routes-to-market for both B2B and B2C vendors. But the growth drivers of the industry have now changed. Mobility is still booming, but now on the back of smaller devices, notably smart phones and pads, which are more and more sold either directly or through service providers. The server and storage markets are healthy, driven by data center activity and cloud applications. On top of these industry changes, the world economic growth is mainly coming from economies beyond Western Europe and the US, where the top 4 distributors are at best weak, at worse absent (MEA, Russia, Japan, etc.) : in these countries, local distributors will outgrow them, with already some local giants like Merlion in Russia for example. All of these factors combined are set to cause headaches for distributor executives for at least the next two years. The report concludes with a list of recommandations for the distributors to follow, if they wish their growth to match the industry, one of which is to go East as soon as possible…

Fortinet appoints Computerlinks as distributor

Denmark : already working together in several other countries, UTM vendor Fortinet has expanded its partnership with network and security VAD Computerlinks as local distributor for its security solutions on the Danish market.

Forcetop eats a Hard Candy

Poland : accessory specialist Forcetop has added Hard Candy cases to its offer.

Eset partners with F+F Distribution

Germany : Czech antivirus editor Eset has chosen gaming and consumer electronics specialist F+F Distribution as new distributor to strengthen its positions in the local retail market.

MTI displays on NEC

Ukraine : broadliner MTI has been appointed official distributor for NEC Display LCD monitors (both desktop and digital signage) and digital video-projectors.

Fröhlich+Walter gets (De)Lock(ed)

Germany : after Kramer signal processing systems, cabling and networking specialist Fröhlich+Walter has expanded its portfolio with Delock cables and accessories.

Archos signs with GRA

Italy : French tablet and MP4 vendor Archos has signed a distribution partnership with mobility and telephony specialist GRA.

A new commercial director for Active2Mil

Spain : following the departure of Ricardo Ruano to Approx, broadliner Activa2Mil has hired José Luis Domínguez as new commercial director. José Luis is known in the industry for having been a long time marketing and commercial director for Lexmark.

Bradford Networks gets two-tier with Siracom

United Kingdom : Network security vendor Bradford Networks has inked a deal with telecom VAD Siracom as it moves to develop a two-tier channel distribution model for the first time in the country. Siracom will focus on Bradford’s Network Sentry platform, a network security solution that can identify and profile all mobile devices and users on a network. Siracom will deliver consultancy, implementation and integration services, and post-sales support, as well as skilling up its top 20 resellers to become tier one systems integrators. As a distributor for Wifi infrastructure specialist Meru Networks, the partnership with Bradford – also a Meru technology partner – means that Siracom and its resellers can offer a comprehensive solution for the first time to organisations looking to manage and secure their WLANs and tackle the challenge of mobile device security.

Ingram gets into interactive learning with Easisoft

Germany : broadliner Ingram Micro ventures into education software market through a partnership with local editor Easisoft. Easisoft has developed Easiteach Next Generation an interactive software for classrooms. Compatible with any whiteboard, projectors and other hardware devices, Easiteach Next Generation is designed to help teachers create and deliver motivational and engaging lessons. Easiteach enables users to create personalised lessons and resources from scratch as well as access a wide range of content that can be used or adapted to suit your own needs.

Polycom multiplies alliances and programs

While it did not want to comment the impact of the acquisition of the video-conference division of HP over its distributor network, Polycom has unveiled its new partner program and another technology alliance.

Dubbed Choice Program, the new partner program aims to push its resellers to invest more in its technologies (A/V, industry specialization, Microsoft unified communications, VoIP, etc.). As a reward, its certified channel gets higher earnings. The goal is to strengthen the skills and commitment of its partners, to face more efficiently Cisco-Tandberg competition. This new partner program leans obviously on its distributors (organized by major specialties, such as network infrastructure, telephony or VoIP – that is Arrow ECS Network and Security, Itancia and Imago in France for example), which may become training centers if they wish.

Beside its POCN (Polycom Open Collaboration Network) alliance, launched last year ago with 8 partners around the Lync unified communications from Microsoft, Polycom plans to further simplify the interoperability of videoconferencing infrastructures with OVCC (Open Visual Communication Consortium). Like POCN, OVCC purpose is to be able to use any videoconferencing solution without having to worry about the infrastructure of the other users. A bit like the traditional telephony, since the dawn of time…

MSI all-in-ones at Merlion

Russia : broadliner Merlion has expanded its partnership with MSI to its all-in-one PCs. Previously, both companies were working together on PC components (since 2005) and on notebooks.

Ingram DC/POS gets more Psion

Already working together since many years in the Ireland and United Kingdom, Psion and Ingram Micro DC/POS have decided to go for a Europe-wide partnership. Both companies have immediately started a cooperation in the DACH region (Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and in Scandinavia (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden). The other countries where Ingram has DC/POS offices (Belgium/Luxembourg, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain) should follow later.

B.Com hires a new PR manager

Germany : broadliner B.Com has hired Katharina Scheurer as new PR manager Albeit previously working for Lewis PR agency, Katharina is not a newcomer in the distribution, as she long worked for Ingram Micro as PR Specialist.

Hammer and NetApp relationship grows

United Kingdom : storage vendor NetApp has extended the product range available via its VAD Hammer, granting distribution rights to the whole of NetApp’s portfolio. This includes the FAS 2000, FAS 3000 and FAS 6000 series, as well as the complete software solutions range, allowing the distributor to grow its partners to the highest level within the NetApp partner structure. Hammer has demonstrated exponential growth since becoming a NetApp Silver Partner Programme Distributor in 2009, and adds value to the vendor’s range by training partners using Hammer’s NetApp-accredited technical engineers and demonstration kits, and accompanying resellers to customer sites to provide installation and training on the systems.

Arrow ECS expands storage portfolio with Isilon

United Kingdom : network, security and infrastructure specialist Arrow ECS has signed Isilon as a new storage supplier. Recently acquired by EMC (for which Arrow ECS is also a distributor), Isilon delivers network-attached-storage products that offer performance, scale and simplicity required to support big data workloads and enable real-time analysis.

Systeam duplicates CD/DVDs with Epson

Germany : broadliner Systeam has added Epson DiscProducer CD/DVD duplication systems to its offer. As a complement to these systems, Systeam also distributes Taiyo-Yuden discs.

Edge-Core expands in Southern Africa

South Africa : network and telecoms specialist Miro Distribution has been appointed official distributor by Edge-Core Networks for its lines of network infrastructure products. Miro Distribution will push Edge-Core products through its domestic network, as well as through its export division into sub-Saharan Africa.

Avnet Memec expands European distribution agreement for Renesas with industrial automation products

Semiconductor specialist Avnet Memec has expanded its pan-European distribution agreement with Renesas Electronics Europe to include industrial automation products such as IO Link, ERTEC and Ethernet Controllers & PHYs supporting IEEE1588 v2. Avnet Memec already distributes Renesas Electronics’ mainstream technologies including MCUs (8/16/32 bit), Opto-Couplers, Power MOSFETs and ASICs across Europe, through its offices in Austria, Belux, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom).

Ingram Micro distributes StoneSoft

Germany : security vendor Stonesoft has appointed the Value division of broadliner Ingram Micro as new official distributor in the country.