Eleven HP resellers dropped from a government contract last year have been handed over to business managers in Malaysia who want them to provide exhaustive sales documentation to support their cases for reinstatement.
At the time they were dropped from the NSW government ITS2000 contract late last year, none of the 11 Sydney-based resellers had been notified of HP’s decision to drop them off the contract supplier list.
None had at the time of writing been told why they were dropped.
ITS2000 is a four-year, whole-of-government contract for the supply of fileservers, PCs, notebooks and hand-held computers, amounting to 80 per cent of NSW government technology purchases.
ITS 2000 can mean a huge chunk of business for Australian suppliers and distributors.
Some of the 11 resellers who had spoken with HP about being dropped had been contacted by HP representatives in Malaysia. The Kuala Lumpur representatives appear not to have had any prior dealings with the Australian companies.
"I've been told by people in Malaysia to get sales documentation," said Jay Joseph, director of OmniSystems.
Joseph said it would take a full week's work to meet HP's requests, without any guarantee of a result.
OmniSystems was now selling brands such as Acer instead of HP to its existing customers, he said.
"The communication with HP is getting progressively worse," said Colin Williamson, managing director at Comaxes.
Williamson said the distribution of HP staff between Malaysia, India and other locations was making matters worse.
"We've had no response still as to why we were taken off the contract and we don't even know who is looking after us," he said. "My local business development manager was actually changed to a person in Malaysia."
IT National has supplied HP product to the NSW government for 15 years. "I'm amazed at their lack of contact," said John Foxe, director at IT National.
"We've received no formal notification that we're no longer on the contract and we've had no contact with HP to discuss how this will affect our targets or budgets."
IT National estimated between 30 to 40 percent of its sales had come from supplying HP equipment to the NSW government. It had also been asked to complete exhaustive documentation before being considered for re-instatement.
The situation was fuelling further speculation HP was preparing to turn its back on the channel to compete with the likes of Dell in the PC and server space while staving off challengers to its dominance in the printer market.
"They are cutting out all these dealers, keeping the people who deal directly with HP as their resellers or partners," OmniSystems' Joseph said.
Back in April, HP's corporate communications manager Stephen Ries affirmed the company's commitment to the channel in Australia and said an investigation would be made into what occurred with ITS2000.
He had not returned calls by press time.