Channel too cutthroat, says reseller

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A Linux reseller has criticised the IT channel for its cutthroat practices, arguing that even the marginalised bookselling industry has higher ethical standards when making deals.

A Linux reseller has criticised the IT channel for its cutthroat practices, arguing that even the marginalised bookselling industry has higher ethical standards when making deals.

Anthony Rumble, managing director at open source-focused Sydney reseller Everything Linux, said reselling books as well as software and IT services had shown him just how cutthroat the IT channel had become.

“We are focused very heavily on the books. It’s much nicer than the IT industry. It’s just too cutthroat in IT,” he said.

Too few IT distributors demonstrated any loyalty to their resellers, no matter how longstanding the relationship, he said.

“The suppliers don’t really have any business relationship with the resellers. They don’t look after each other or anything like that,” Rumble said.

“It’s: ‘here’s a price, there’s the deal -- take it or leave it.’ There is no deal. There is no return. There is no choice.”

In the bookselling industry, there was give and take, he said.

He pointed to the recent takeover of Tech Pacific by Ingram Micro as an example. Longstanding smaller resellers had been given short shrift in the new combined organisation, he alleged.

Everything Linux was no longer getting the service it had received under pre-takeover arrangements. Yet both distributors had reassured resellers that little upheaval was on the cards, Rumble said.

“It’s really putting us at a disadvantage. We’re going to lose all that we had,” he said.

Tech Pacific was inheriting Everything Linux as a customer as a result of the takeover. But Rumble said Tech Pacific had a different policy on ordering and the message to Everything Linux was that the new organisation was not prepared to negotiate.

“[Tech Pacific] policy is that you place an order and then have to wait, you have to have it shipped over,” he said. “Or you have to run the gauntlet of their back order process, which is really horrendous.”

The industry as a whole was going to be worse off, with the smaller players suffering while big players reaped the rewards, he said.

“And we’ve got to deal with [the big guys] because reality of the small distributors, frankly, is that they just can’t provide. It’s getting harder,” Rumble said. “They start saying, ‘we just don’t have any stock’. And you say, ‘so what’s your job? Now there’s a professional job called middleman?’.”

Kerry Baillie, chief of Tech Pacific Australia and of the new Ingram Micro organisation, was contacted for a response but had not replied by press time.

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