Notebook vendor Toshiba has launched a PC fleet management program for resellers that focuses on the special deployment issues of laptop computers.
Mark Whittard, general manager at Toshiba Australia, said the program combined elements Toshiba had offered for some time with newer initiatives.
"The aim is to help customers optimise their fleets of mobile computers through the entire life cycle," he said.
The vendor had completed a pilot of the program with selected resellers, and was launching it more broadly. About six or seven resellers had signed up out of an envisaged possible total of about 12, Whittard said.
"We probably hadn't gone down to the great level of detail [previously]," he said.
Whittard said the program took in, among other things, assistance with asset management, business costs for the customer, leasing and financing arrangements, data recovery, storage, marketing and trade-in issues.
Resellers could boost their skinny hardware margins by providing the fleet management program's services to their customers, he said.
"HP, Dell and IBM are the three that have similar programs I'm aware of. I think [ours] is very competitive and the strength is that it's more mobile computer-centric. Mobile computers are more difficult to manage," Whittard said.
He said resellers with "complete services capability" that were chasing business at corporations and midsize companies could suit the program. Experience in networking, wireless or outsourced helpdesk provision could be advantageous.
Toshiba's performance in notebooks remained strong in the last quarter of 2004. The Japanese vendor came fifth in the overall PC market, with a seven percent share in Australia.
"IDC's figures are based on the sales of desktop and notebook PCs combined, and we only do mobile computing. We also came within 0.1 percent of making the top four in the total Q4 PC market," Whittard said, in an email to news media earlier this month. Toshiba had its biggest quarter ever recorded, selling 54,694 notebooks, up 16 percent from its previous record. Unit shipments grew 43.6 percent quarter on quarter, compared to nine percent growth for notebook shipments from all vendors, he said.
Whittard attributed Toshiba's success last year to wins in enterprises, education, SMBs, retail, new products -- including the Qosmio AV-notebook -- and tablet PCs.
"As a channel-only company, we must also credit our channel partners for this result. As ever, our accomplishments are a reflection of their commitment and hard work," he added in the email.
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