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Avnet agrees to sell Technology Solutions BU to Tech Data

American multispecialist Avnet has entered into an agreement to sell its Technology Solutions operating group to broadliner Tech Data in a stock and cash transaction valued at approximately €2.35b, in what is surely the IT distribution biggest merger to date. The sale of this business provides both Avnet and Tech Data with immediate opportunities to focus on core strategies and scale their respective businesses, ultimately delivering greater profitability to their shareholders.

"We believe the acquisition of Technology Solutions by Tech Data is the best decision for our employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders. This transaction presents us with the best strategic path for Avnet's future success and profitability, and puts Technology Solutions in position to achieve breakthrough business results with Tech Data", said William Amelio, CEO of Avnet. "Moving forward, Avnet will focus its resources and investments on becoming a leader in design chain and supply chain services not only for our current customers and suppliers, but also for new markets. We will drive targeted investments in embedded solutions, Internet of Things (IOT) and critical digital platforms. By investing in these high growth areas, we can expand the breadth of our portfolio and attract new customers worldwide who depend on us to deliver world-class solutions."

Avnet's Technology Solutions operating group is an IT solutions distributor focusing on the datacenter, network, storage and security markets in more than 80 countries (in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom for the EMEA region, which will all reinforce local TD Azlan teams, or ought to create new business, such as in Hungary, India, Romania or Turkey). It provides next generation solutions, marketing, training, resources and services that span the cloud to the data center and encompass the entire IT lifecycle. They work with value-added resellers to make it easier and more affordable to enter and excel in high-growth technology and vertical markets locally and around the world.

"We are excited to announce this transformative transaction, which creates a premier global IT distributor with the most diverse end-to-end solutions from the data center to the living room", said Bob Dutkowsky, CEO of Tech Data. "This combination complements our value-added distribution capabilities in Europe and the Americas, while establishing Tech Data's presence in Asia-Pacific, which will be a new market for us. As a result of the enhanced value proposition created through this transaction, Tech Data will be even better positioned to capture opportunities in next-generation technologies, deliver differentiated value to our customers and vendor partners, support career development for our employees, and generate strong returns for our shareholders. We believe the strategic and financial benefits resulting from this transformative combination are compelling for both our company and our stakeholders. We look forward to welcoming the Technology Solutions team to the Tech Data family and are excited about the future opportunities ahead."

Patrick Zammit, president of the Technology Solutions business, said, "Industry standardisation, innovation and converging technologies have transformed our industry. The broader portfolio created through this combination will enable both businesses to better capitalise on these trends, while also providing new opportunities for Technology Solutions to optimise and expand its offering, as well as unlock value in ways we could not historically. Given the strength of our customer and vendor relationships, our common cultures and values, as well as the skilled and engaged teams at both businesses, I am confident that this is a winning combination."

Tech Data + Technology Solutions: strong platform for growth and value creation

  • Significantly broadens value-added distribution business: Technology Solutions is an established leader in value-added distribution, delivering superior technology solutions, services, software, and hardware across the data center, which is complementary to Tech Data's diversified portfolio of offerings and strategic areas targeted for growth. On a pro forma basis, Tech Data's revenues for the 12 months ended July 31, 2016 would have increased from €23.4b to approximately €31.6b, with revenue attributable to complex, higher-margin data center offerings increasing from approximately 29% to 45%. Pro-forma non-GAAP operating income for the 12 months ended July 31, 2016 would have more than doubled, after expected cost savings. Thanks to the sale, Avnet will be able to focus its investments on its semiconductor distribution arm, Avnet Electronic Components, especially on the IoT market, on which both distributors plans to build partnerships. Beside this, even if it will significantly grow its activities (up to €31.6m), Tech Data will not reach yet its nemesis, Ingram Micro, which generates a worldwide turnover of €45.1m. Also, most competitors will see this acquisition as an opportunity for capturing more business, especially in the EMEA region, as 1+1 seldom become 2 in M&As.
  • Increases Tech Data's ability to capitalise on key next-generation technologies: next-generation technologies, including converged and hyper-converged infrastructure, security, analytics and the cloud, represent a more than €405b market opportunity, which is expected to grow at a 13% compounded annual growth rate through 2019. The combination of Tech Data (€8.7b) and Technology Solutions will (€7.2b) create a premier IT distributor with unmatched skills, consultative expertise, and strong partner relationships to help its customers capture these next-generation technology opportunities.
  • Extends reach in new and existing regions, creating a more balanced geographic footprint: Tech Data's data center business is well-established in Europe and has a growing presence in North America. Overall, these regions represented approximately 61% and 39% of Tech Data's fiscal year 2016 revenues, respectively. With Technology Solutions, Tech Data will enhance its customer and product portfolios in the Americas and Europe, and establish an immediate presence in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, which will be a new market for Tech Data. Following the close of the transaction, Tech Data will expand its operations from 21 to 35 countries worldwide, with Europe comprising 53% of the Company's €31.6b pro forma revenues, the Americas 44% and Asia-Pacific 3%.
  • Expands go-to-market capabilities by adding complementary skills, vendor relationships and new customers: Technology Solutions partners with more than 40 of the world's top IT vendors to address the IT business needs of 20,000 customers in more than 80 countries. Tech Data has similarly strong and diversified relationships with more than 600 vendors and 105,000 customers. As a combined company, the Tech Data and Technology Solutions businesses can offer a broader and differentiated set of solutions to a larger and more diversified customer base, while enhancing relationships with channel partners.
  • Brings together teams with similar values and cultures: both Tech Data and Technology Solutions share a corporate culture centered on providing a world-class customer experience through teamwork, integrity, a passion for winning, and innovation. Tech Data expects that these shared values, as well as the expertise and talent from both organisations, will support a smooth integration following the close of the transaction.

Terms and Financing

Under the terms of the agreement, which was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Avnet will receive €2.15b in cash and 2.785 million shares of Tech Data common stock, currently valued at approximately €180m and representing an approximate 7% ownership position in Tech Data. Tech Data intends to finance the cash portion of the consideration through a combination of cash on hand, drawings under its existing revolver, and proceeds from a new term loan facility and senior notes, which are backstopped by fully-committed debt financing from BofA Merrill Lynch. Following the close of the transaction, Tech Data will continue to benefit from strong cash flows to support debt reduction and organic growth initiatives. Tech Data expects to maintain an investment-grade profile and to reach a target leverage ratio of approximately 2.5x total debt-to-adjusted EBITDA within 18 to 24 months. The deal is of course subject to the approval of competition authorities throughout the world.

News from Cometa, Computer Gross, Esprinet, Partner Data and Ready Informatica

Italy: broadliner Cometa expands to the north, through the opening of a new Cash and Carry in Roma1. Its competitor Computer Gross has expanded its video-security offer with Milestone Systems XProtect video-security software platform2. Broadliner Esprinet has decided to attack the local gaming market through a new strategy, as it has opened gaming corners in its Cesano Boscone and Roma Tiburtina Cash&Carry Esprivillage3. In these corners, resellers will find the whole gaming portfolio of the distributor. Chinese security vendor Venustech has entered the European security market through a distribution deal with security specialist Partner Data4. Partner Data will push its SMB and corporate security appliances in the country through its VAR and system integrator network. Finally, network and security VAD Ready Informatica has been chosen by American startup OSNEXUS to distribute its storage virtualization platform QuantaStor in the country (source: Toptrade Informatica Italia 1 and 3, Digital4Trade Italia 2 and 4).

Arcserve chooses Arrow ECS

Netherlands: infrastructure VAD Arrow ECS has been appointed as authorized distributor for backup and replication solutions from Arcserve. Arrow ECS will distribute the entire Arcserve portfolio, containing Arcserve UDP, ARCserve Backup and Arcserve Appliance. It will focus on larger and technically more complex environments. Arcserve is one of the fastest growing backup and replication vendors in the industry. It was looking for a real value-add distributor. "Following the successful launch of Arcserve UDP, we believe that the partnership with Arrow ECS will bring us into position to continue our growth", said Giovanni Goduti, Sales Director Arcserve for Northern Europe. "Arcserve is a perfect complement to our storage and data management portfolio, while Arcserve's Unified Data Protection Suite will also allow us to target the SMB market", said Mark Louis Heijman, Sales and Marketing Director of Arrow ECS in the Netherlands.

Three new brands for ERC

Ukraine: broadliner ERC has unveiled new distribution deals with Silicon Power (memory and flash storage products) and Synology (NAS). Its software arm Softprom by ERC has been appointed official distributor by RIP vendor Onyx Graphics, for the whole former USSR region. Softprom will distribute these products through its VAR network addressed by its offices in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia and Ukraine.

Exertis goes outdoor with Digipower Refuel

France: retail specialist Exertis has added Refuel powerbanks from Digipower to its outdoor offer.

Exertis to take digital distribution by Ztorm

Broadliner Exertis has announced its intention to further expand the online and instore, leading edge, digital delivery infrastructure solutions to retailers through its Ztorm subsidiary. Exertis Ztorm has been at the forefront of digital distribution for a decade and boasts an enviable catalogue of titles from the world's premier publishers and software houses. Its innovative solutions enable retailers to take the step from physical to digital without the costs, hassle and logistics involved with traditional POSA cards.

Exertis Ztorm managing director Annica Lejdeborn said "our focus is to help etailers and retailers deploy a cost-effective and reliable method for digital delivery. We have tested solutions for all store types ranging from small independents to large retailers or etailers. Each solution can adapt and grow according to the needs of the client. Exertis Ztorm's print instore, dynamic, no-risk alternative to POSA cards provides great advantages to retailers who can also take advantage of the promotional and marketing support provided by the Exertis retail teams."

As shipments of boxed games and software decline and demand for online downloads grows, then reliable, secure and scalable digital distribution is essential for both publishers and retailers in a market currently worth over €21.6bn. Exertis Ztorm has relationships with all the leading publishers and a growing catalogue of titles from companies that include Adobe, EA, McAfee, Microsoft, Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Symantec and Ubisoft.

First Distribution signs agreement with Symantec

South Africa: infrastructure VAD First Distribution has been appointed as a distributor within the country for Symantec. First Distribution is thus supplementing its comprehensive security portfolio offering with yet another world-class cyber security vendor, giving its customers and business partners an even wider selection of intelligent security solutions with which to protect their valuable data, information and intellectual capital.

Symantec provides security and information management solutions to help its customers – from consumers and small businesses to the largest global organisations – secure and manage their information against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently than any other company. Symantec's unique focus is to eliminate risks to information, technology and processes independent of the device, platform, interaction or location. In Symantec's core businesses – consumer, endpoint security, information management – it utilises its market leadership positions to accelerate new growth opportunities. As the industry matures, it pairs new technologies with its core solutions to deliver integrated solutions that address evolving customer needs. As the threat landscape evolves and customers shift to adapt to new technologies and technology consumption, Symantec is investing in future growth areas such as mobile, virtualisation and SaaS that will help to reduce cost and complexity for its customers. With Symantec, customers can protect more of their information and its technology infrastructure, in greater depth, wherever information is stored or used. From securing a consumer's online identity and interactions to protecting an organisation's mission-critical data, Symantec offers the leading and best-of-breed security and data loss prevention products. And as a platform-independent software company without bias to an individual operating system or hardware environment, Symantec helps customers manage more technologies with greater efficiency, on more platforms – even in virtual environments – than any other company. With multi-platform software and a worldwide delivery and support infrastructure, Symantec helps customers optimise technology investments throughout their lifetimes.

First Distribution General Manager for Networking and Security, Simon Campbell-Young, stated: "First Distribution is very pleased to announce adding Symantec as a premium security vendor to our best-of-breed product range. With Symantec's extensive cyber security portfolio, First Distribution is well-positioned to meet the security needs of our partners, as well as to work with Symantec in successfully executing their growth and development plans across this country."

Sheldon Hand, SA Country Manager for Symantec, stated: "We are very excited about this new partnership with First Distribution. Together, we will offer the full Symantec portfolio to our customers, helping them protect against the world's most sophisticated cyber threats. First Distribution has the expertise and experience to help customers choose the right solution and consumption model that best suits their needs. From traditional approaches such as perpetual licensing, to the latest MSP and cloud offerings."

API distributes Fujitsu motherboards

Germany: broadliner API has been chosen by Fujitsu as official distributor for its newly-relaunched line of standard motherboards for PCs (source: IT Business Deutschland).

EgoSecure in the Hermitage

France: egoSecure data protection editor has inked a distribution deal with security VAD Hermitage Solutions.

Midwich Group signs Philips Dictation

British AV broadliner Midwich has secured a new partnership with Philips Dictation spanning Ireland and the United Kingdom. Midwich will act as specialist audio distributor for Philips' leading voice dictation brand. When Midwich was actively seeking to grow its audio portfolio, which already includes amplifiers, speaker, conference system and more, the AV distributor was impressed by positive customer feedback and innovative technical features offered by the Philips Dictation range. Philips' comprehensive portfolio of digital recording and transcription solutions include software, hardware and services for dictation users, secretaries and transcriptionists, as well as IT managers and administration staff. As part of the agreement, Midwich will supply Philips' consumer voice recorders, professional dictation hardware and transcription services to resellers and integrators, especially those targeting the medical and legal markets.

"Midwich has a long standing industry expertise in channel distribution. Philips Dictation is a leading manufacturer of speech-to-text solutions, and we look forward to Midwich becoming a valued partner in enabling us to maximise our potential in the UK market by delivering a strong product range and professional services to the channel", said Chris Morgan, Vice President & Sales Director UK & Ireland.

Midwich Divisional Director, Lee Baker commented: "we are confident that the winning combination of Philips’ innovative and market leading brand, and our AV expertise and market reach will prove a dynamic match. We are in a prime position to take existing customers and a growing number of prospects through the Philips range."

Alison Charters, Product Manager for Midwich's audio range, said "We are really excited to be partnering with Philips Dictation. We already successfully sell Philips monitors and large format displays, and with our technical knowledge, we believe we can increase demand for Philips Dictation products."

Tech Data Mobile announced new distribution agreement with Silent Circle

Tech Data Europe has announced a new Europe-wide agreement with Silent Circle, a vendor specialized in mobile security. Silent Circle offers private and encrypted mobile devices, software applications, and communication management services to corporations, governments and individuals worldwide. Customers across the company Mobile Solution division's entire European footprint (through offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom) now have easy access to the full range of Silent Circle products and solutions including:

  • Blackphone, a smartphone device that is private by design. Blackphone runs on Silent OS, an enhanced Android operating system, and carries a suite of apps designed to keep enterprise and personal information separate and private.
  • Silent Phone, an app which works on any device, enabling encrypted, secure voice calls, conference calling, video conferencing, text messaging and file transfers.
  • Silent Manager, a simple and secure cloud-based management console for enterprises to manage Silent Circle users, groups, plans and devices.

"Cyber-attacks pose one of the greatest threats to businesses, governments and consumers globally, and there is an ever-growing demand for more sophisticated and robust systems and devices to protect our private data", said Stephen Nolan, senior vice president, Tech Data Mobile. "Silent Circle's products cater to this need and we look forward to extending their reach among our partners in the channel across Europe."

"The addition of Silent Circle's solutions strengthens Tech Data Mobile's product and services portfolio. With an end-to-end enterprise privacy package that incorporates devices, software and services, Silent Circle has created a comprehensive solution to enable organizations to face the growing challenge of securing their business communication", added Luc Van Huystee, vice president, Tech Data Mobile.

"We are very pleased to partner with Tech Data", said Matt Neiderman, Interim CEO, Silent Circle. "Their geographic footprint, distribution network, and mobile and enterprise software expertise align nicely with our channel strategy, particularly as Silent Circle builds on its rapidly expanding market share for enterprise-oriented secure mobile communication solutions. We are confident Tech Data will provide exemplary support to our dedicated specialist resellers, and are committed to collaborating with them to identify and engage with experienced partners."

beroNet chooses Alliance Com

France: beroNet, a German manufacturer of cloud-managed VoIP and RNIS cards, gateways and appliances, has strengthened its distribution network through a distribution deal with Alliance Com network (comprising of regional distributors ACR Centre, ACR Distribution, Dream Tech, HBP Associés, Immotique Distribution, Indis Réseaux, Primo, Renest and Sodecpa). They join incumbent distributors Edox and Integrasys. According to beroNet, with the approaching end of the PSTN in the country, time has come for telecom integrators to find VoIP gateways to connect existing phone systems to IP links. Through this deal, beroNet will be able to reach more efficiently the market in province through Alliance Com 3500 regional customers, while Alliance-Com will get a full VoIP and ISDN offer to answer the upcoming growing demand. "We are excited about this new distribution partnership", said Christian Richter, CEO of beroNet. "This partnership with Alliance-Com will allow us to offer even more value and support around our solutions to telecom integrators." BeroNet has chosen Alliance Com as a new distributor because of its leading position in the local telecommunications market and its ability to provide technical and commercial support to all its customers. "We wanted to add to our offer a full range of cards and VoIP gateways. With reliable, simple and flexible products, BeroNet meet the needs of our customers", says Matthieu Chessari, marketing director for Alliance Com.

Two distributors for AVG

As part of its expansion strategy, antivirus editor AVG has appointed security VADs Sigma Software Distribution and Dexceo as official distributors in the United Kingdom and Denmark. Both distributors will provide its full line of AVG Business solutions. Sigma General Manager Jane Silk shared her thoughts on the new Sigma-AVG relationship, "we always strive to truly understand our partners' needs and establish long term relationships that drive opportunities. The AVG relationship is one where we can work transparently, develop the best model for the channel and then prove this in the marketplace. AVG's proven security expertise and its advanced technology will help us immediately respond to challenges our partners face in the current threat landscape. Product innovations such as AVG Managed Workplace that offer a centralized, automated platform to manage security while also helping our partners provide more services to their customers, have us very excited." Dennis Wøldike, founder of Dexceo, says: "we are looking forward to building our relationship with AVG and extending new benefits and opportunities to our partner network. As an AVG trusted partner, we can offer new security innovation and a range of solutions and services for the Scandinavian market." According to AVG, the additions of Dexceo and Sigma are a natural extension of its partner-focused model and complement its specialty focus, as well as its existing and valued broadline distributors.

ABC Data, Action, MaxComputers, NTT System and Veracomp find new partners, while Nelro Data adds two new members to its board of directors

Poland: broadliner ABC Data has become distributor for Ferguson Digital home automation solutions1. Its competitors Action, MaxComputers and NTT System have started the distribution of, respectively, DJI drones2, Xede PCs3 (a new own brand for MaxComputers) and Tucano cases for mobile devices4. Multispecialist Veracomp has been appointed official distributor for Samsung digital signage solutions. Finally, retail specialist Nelro Data has added two members to its board of directors5. Łukasz Pacholski, who was COO for the distributor, becomes vice-president beside Grzegorz Naja, also appointed new managing director of the company (source: CRN Polska 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).

TD Azlan strengthens management team with key appointments

United Kingdom: infrastructure VAD TD Azlan has made key additions to its management team, naming Huw Jones as Business Unit Manager, HP Enterprise and also announcing the appointment of Sarah Williams as Sales Director. They join of Simon Bennett Business Unit Director, Enterprise and Peter Spreadbury, Director, Software on the TD Azlan management team under TD Azlan UK Managing Director, Rob Tomlin.

Huw Jones has been with Tech Data for almost seven years in senior account management positions, and before joining Tech Data worked at Computacenter for five-and-a-half- years. Sarah Williams has also been with the company for almost seven years working in sales roles. She previously worked for both Dell and HP and has more than two decades of experience in the IT channel.

Rob Tomlin said that the appointments put the final piece of the jigsaw into the management team and meant there would now be an even keener focus on key areas of growth for customers. "Both Huw and Sarah have the right experience in the right areas and they will be able to bring real insight to their respective roles. It's vitally important that we support our customers in developing high value business and I'm completely confident that they will do a fantastic job and ensure that TD Azlan continues to set the pace in value distribution, and can grow and develop into a truly innovative business."

TD Azlan is continuing to advance its unified strategy and approach, which places the emphasis firmly on key growth areas of the market and on specific customer segments, with increased focus on collaboration and meeting the needs of converged solutions resellers, managed services providers and unified communications specialists.

More notebooks and desktops adopt SSDs

The adoption rate of solid-state drives (SSDs) in notebooks and desktops is steadily rising, according to latest data published by CONTEXT, the European IT market research company. 27% of notebook volumes sold through Western Europe's largest distributors in Q2 2016 featured SSDs compared to 19% in the same quarter a year ago, while SSD share in desktop volume sales rose from 6% to 16% over the same period. In both categories, the increase was driven by a rise in unit sales of SSD-based systems coupled with a drop in sales of products featuring traditional hard drives. Adoption rates in both categories were also up when compared to Q1 2016: in the early months of this year, 26% of notebook volumes and 12% of desktops sold were based on solid-state storage technology. "The falling price of solid-state drives is the main reason for the recent growth", said Marie-Christine Pygott, Senior Analyst at CONTEXT. "The average distributor sell price for 256GB client SSDs, for example, dropped by -25% year-on-year in Q2 2016, to €83 (fixed x-rates). The increasing affordability of SSD storage is expected to continue to drive HDD replacements in the quarters to come."

 

SSD share Notebooks

 

  Q2-15 Q2-16
Sweden 46% 64%
Switzerland 37% 47%
Netherlands 21% 36%
Germany 23% 31%
UK 17% 23%
Italy 12% 17%
France 14% 16%
Portugal 14% 16%
Spain 10% 12%

SSD share Desktops

 

  Q2-15 Q2-16
Switzerland 18% 32%
Sweden 18% 29%
Germany 7% 19%
UK 7% 16%
Netherlands 5% 13%
Italy 2% 12%
Portugal 3% 7%
France 2% 7%
Spain 1% 5%

Two new distributors for NSFOCUS

As part of its international expansion, advanced security solution provider NSFOCUS has inked distribution deals with security VAD e92plus in the British Isles and network and security VAD Spectrami, in the MEA region. These new deals bring advanced security solutions to Ireland and the United Kingdom through e92plus, as well as the full MENA region, through Spectrami offices in Morocco and the United Arab Emirates.

"We're extremely excited by the opportunities this partnership opens up to us and we are pleased to expand the NSFOCUS portfolio in the MENA and British Isles regions. NSFOCUS being a global player in providing enterprise-level network security solutions and services, enables Spectrami and e92plus to offer an even richer security portfolio, better addressing both regional and international customer demands in today's complex security environment", said Aftab Afzal, Senior Vice President at NSFOCUS.

Spectrami and e92plus will work closely with the vendor's global sales and support teams to ensure its channel partners receive strong pre-sales, marketing, implementation and post-sales services. The goal is to effectively sell NSFOCUS' complete suite of cloud security, network security and application security solutions to customers enabling them to mitigate risk, protect their valued assets and maintain continuity of their business. By leveraging our strong channel network, we plan to provide NSFOCUS with an extensive market reach that could secure significant market share and a sustained growth opportunity in the region. As a VAD, Spectrami's and e92plus expertise in the field of Information Security and Management will enable the well segmented portfolio of NSFOCUS in gaining more exposure in the regions.

Virus alert sounded in ESET distribution system

India: The battle between antivirus editor ESET and its erstwhile India partner ESS Distribution has taken a turn for the worse, with several channel partners ganging up against the Slovakia-based company for reportedly deactivating the security codes of the products that they had stocked up. The issue, which surfaced after ESS Distribution and ESET parted ways early last month ending their nearly decade-long association, literally came on to the streets as channel partners petitioned several IT Channel Associations such as the Federation of IT Associations (FAIITA) and the Infotech Software Dealers Association (ISODA) to name a few.

ESS Distribution, which was the face of ESET in India, was accused of fraudulent practices and default by the Slovakian company, which decided to part ways early in August to sign with Sakri IT Solutions. Over the past few weeks, channel partners ran from pillar-to-post upon finding that several products they had sold could not be activated as the license keys of the products had been snapped by the manufacturer.

"We were shocked by the abrupt conclusion of the partnership between ESET and ESS Distribution. What was a bigger shock was that stocks lying with the market had their codes deactivated, which means none of it can be sold. We are astonished to know that stocks sold two to three years ago has not been activated and consequently they would be deactivated by the ESET Team", says an e-mail written by the partners to the Associations. The affected channel partners, who held separate discussions with representatives of ESS Distribution and ESET, claimed that apart from the blame game between the two, nothing concrete was coming out despite their best efforts.

Based on information provided to Channel Times by some partners, it appears that for close to nine months, ESS Distribution had been selling retail boxes at discounts on cash only basis while billing to a new set of channel partners in cases where the old ones were not picking up stock due to poor sales. In such transactions, the partners and the end customer looses out. They estimate that stocks work €700k could be lying with 200 plus partners. The partners are now attempting to pare the losses to the extent possible for which they are seeking the support of channel associations on a united platform. Besides suggesting that the vendor and distributor settle the issue amicably to sustain their brand equity in India, the members have demanded that an advisory be sent to all partners detailing the prevailing situation between ESET and ESS Distribution. The channel partners also demanded that further sale of the product by members of the partner associations should be put on hold till a committee is constituted to devise a mechanism to protect the interests of the partners and the end-customers. They also wanted the associations to get the software companies to agree that even in case of strife, license keys of products would not be removed as it causes major issues in the high-intensity cyber security market (source: Channel Times India).

STORDIS and Edgecore Networks partner to expand Open Networking in Europe

Open networking specialist STORDIS has been appointed as European distributor for Edgecore Networks Corporation with a main distribution focus on France, Germany and the United Kingdom. STORDIS will address the vertical markets of Media & Broadcast and Cyber Security, where the company has a considerable understanding of the specialised market requirements. Edgecore Networks, who is the leader in Open Networking, is a fully owned subsidiary of industry giant, Accton Technology Corporation, the World's largest switch original design manufacturer (ODM), supplying many of the tier one branded switch vendors.

"Edgecore offers bare-metal, and white box switches that are designed and manufactured in the same Accton factories, from the same components, using the same expertise as many of the world's branded networking devices", comments Alexander Jeffries, CEO at STORDIS. "Customers are getting near-identical hardware at significant savings. Combining this with the latest open switch operating systems and SDN solutions, built on Linux and OpenFlow, we are convinced this new business model will change the future of networking."

"With Edgecore Networks being the leader in Open Networking solutions, and its role as a leading contributor to the Open Compute Project (OCP) were key factors in STORDIS partnering with Edgecore", added Alexander Jeffries. "OCP is now the principal forum for open, industry collaboration around all aspects of data centre architecture. Edgecore Networks, is at the centre of this, leading, and contributing to the project, supplying the latest optimised hardware. Edgecore Networks are working directly with the largest switch-users globally, building new hardware that is designed from the ground up for open networking: hardware built on open source, open standards and industry collaboration."

STORDIS will be providing 24 hour delivery times across Europe on a range of 1GB, 10GB, 40GB and 100Gb Edgecore switches. The company will also be offering complete Open Networking solutions, by combining Edgecore Networks switches with the latest open source SDN solutions and its broad-ranging stocks of high-quality un-coded transceivers, networking adaptors (NICs), cabling, and breakout options. Vital for success in open networking, STORDIS are testing all the combined hardware and software solutions thoroughly in their own "STORDIS Labs". This gives resellers access to hands-on expertise and advice to ensure working, flexible networking options that are perfectly matched to their customers' needs. "We are very happy to have selected STORDIS as one of our distributors in Europe. STORDIS is the ideal distribution partner for scaling and growing our businesses in Europe", comments George Tchaparian, Edgecore CEO and GM of Open Networking for Accton Group. "Their commitment to Open Networking solution integration and testing, and building expertise around our extensive open networking product line, gives STORDIS a high value-add needed for supporting resellers and their customers with handson knowledge, practical FAE advice, and real-world positive customer experience."

Microsoft picks Westcoast for official Surface role

United Kingdom: broadliner Westcoast has been appointed as an authorised distributor for Surface, beside incumbent distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data. Under the commercial-only agreement, Westcoast will begin working with the Surface Pro 4 and the high-end Surface Book, together with the full range of accessories for each. Paul Harman, Solutions Director, Westcoast, said: "we are thrilled to have been selected by Microsoft. Our plan is to work with partners who have a real appetite to sell Surface and join an exclusive group able to deal in this premier brand."

Pauline Yau, UK Commercial Surface Lead, Microsoft, also said: "We are pleased to confirm that Microsoft is in the process of recruiting additional Surface UK resellers, growing the number to approximately 400 partners. This will provide customers with even more choice and enable us to continue to expand the number of vertical markets and use cases. As part of this expansion, Westcoast has joined Ingram Micro and Tech Data to become our third authorised Surface distribution partner. We already work closely with Westcoast in other Microsoft product categories and this addition will provide the expanded reseller community with the additional scale and choice needed given the high demand we are currently experiencing for Surface devices."