Datacom takes SolNet staff

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Internet systems and services company Datacom has picked up nine staff remaining from SolNet’s Australian arm which ceased operation in early January.

Internet systems and services company Datacom has picked up nine staff remaining from SolNet's Australian arm which ceased operation in early January.

Clark Hobson, GM site services at Datacom, said that for various 'legal and regulatory reasons' the integrator had offered jobs to 10 former SolNet staff in Australia, but did not purchase the business.

In return, Datacom paid SolNet in New Zealand for access to the Australian team, said Hobson. 'We didn't get any [Solnet] contracts -- all we did was add a bunch of people,' he said. Nine out of the ten remaining SolNet staff had accepted positions with Datacom, he said.

While it didn't pick up any existing SolNet contracts, former SolNet customers had indicated they would continue to place business with Datacom, he said.

Former SolNet staff are now working in an Datacom division dubbed Datacom Business Solutions - which has 11 staff - and join some 2000 staff working at Datacom in Australia and New Zealand. The staff acquisition gives Datacom expertise around Sun software products, particularly J2EE expertise it didn't formerly have in Australia, Hobson said.

SolNet Australia was on shaky ground late last year when Sun Microsystems abruptly cancelled a supply agreement with SolNet New Zealand. Twenty-five SolNet staff in New Zealand subsequently lost their jobs. Sun also then revoked its reseller contract with SolNet in Australia.

Paul Muller, former MD of Solnet Australia and founder of the local operation in 2000, told CRN that SolNet had to 'de-couple ourselves from the Sun side of things.'

Muller has since moved to New Zealand and is part of a fresh management team which late last year formed independent integrator SolNet Solutions. That division's chairman, Murray McNae, transferred the assets of SolNet to the new SolNet Solutions entity around that time. SolNet Solutions has around 117 staff in New Zealand.

While Sun Microsystems had previously indicated the termination of the supply contract was for financial reasons, Muller had a different view. 'We see that there are a couple of individuals in Sun that have an agenda. This agenda created a series of actions,' he said.

No longer tied to Sun, SolNet New Zealand would work independently with other vendors such as IBM and BEA Systems, Muller said. 'We're rebuilding ourselves quite well,' he said.

For three years, SolNet was the number one iPlanet partner for Sun in Australia. 'Go figure,' Muller said.

Datacom CEO Michael Browne said the former SolNet team gave the company the ability to offer both .Net and J2EE solutions. 'We feel our recruitment strategy reflects the current gap in the industry of technical consulting and support providers,' he said in a statement.

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