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Corparate demand slump
The Y2K effect on the reseller channel (see story below) was far from expected, especially after the Y2K issue failed to affect many companies in the UK. However, according to Context (www.context1.com), there was a heavy decline in corporate demand during the first quarter of this year,both in the UK and across Western Europe.
This corporate demand slump was offset by the consumer side of the market, the market research firm says, resulting in an eight per cent increase in European PC market sakes.
Despite this, many PC brand leaders had a bad first quarter to this calendar year, with Compaq, the market leader, recording a negative growth rate of 8.5 per cent, and Fujitsu Siemens recording a four percent market decline. However, Inger Kwaitkowski, Context's senior analyst said, while PC sales to corporates continued to decline, demand from small businesses and consumers saw an uplift.
"The figures for this quarter clearly indicate that the European PC Market has not yet recovered from the slowing down effect of Y2K on the corporate sector," she said.
Figures for the second quarter are due out later this summer. It's to be hoped, for the sake of the resellers, that the business PC sales trends resume their upwards path.

Resellers report Y2K sales slump
It may be more than six months since the Y2K effect exploded on us all like a damp squib, proving what many so-called experts had been saying was wrong, but it seems that companies backpeddled on IT hardware sales in the runup to the end of the year 2000. Sales figures released during July reveal that several resellers in the UK, including Computerland, Kalamazoo and Triad, have reported 1999/2000 turnover significantly down on that for 1998/99.
Computerland (www.computerland.co.uk) reported a loss of 128,000 pounds on a turnover of 28.3 million pounds for its year to April 30, 2000, blaming the poor shown poor sales in the Y2K runup. Triad (www.triad.co.uk), meanwhile, reported a pre-tax profit of 1.9 million pounds on a turnover of 48.4 million pounds for the year to March 31, 2000 - down from profit of 8.6 million on a turnover of 49.4 million pounds for 1999. John Rigg, the firm's chairman, told reporters that a number of large projects had resulted in a delayed start, but he expects things to improve. "The millennium effect has taken longer to fade than expected," he said, adding that many companies are thinking about how they should handle the e-commerce revolution.
Kalamazoo (www.kalamazoo.co.uk) has also warned analysts that it 1999/2000 profit would be below expectations, eventually posting a pre-tax loss of 6.9 million pounds on a turnover of 62.8 million pounds for the year ending March 31 - down from a loss of 2.2 million pounds on a turnover of 65.8 million pounds for 1999.

A2000 gets behind Pocket PC
A2000 Distribution a channel distributor of mobile computing products, has become one of the first dealers to get behind the Pocket PC standard. The distributor has just started shipping what it calls `best in breed' models from the likes of Hewlett Packard, Casio, and Compaq. John Kemp, the distributor's MD, said that he believes the Pocket PC represents an important transformation in the mobile computing market.
As a result, he said, the firm expects to see customers adopt Windows- Powered devices on a very large scale.
"A2000 has already built a comprehensive range of accessories for the Pocket PC. This range will be developed as the market matures and manufacturers continue to develop new products, ensuring that resellers have access to the most complete range of Windows-Powered solutions in the UK," he explained. According to Kemp, the new Windows-Powered operating system will allow Pocket PC's to communicate with each other, share information with Windows-based PC's, and connect to the Internet easily. In addition, all of the new Pocket PC's will be equipped with companion applications that provide seamless integration with Windows based PC applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, as well as enhanced versions of Pocket Outlook and Pocket Internet Explorer. Integration between e-mail and other applications, Kemp said, will enable customers to send and receive messages, manage their e-mail, view and modify attachments, and launch Web pages through embedded URL's.

Elsa strengthens European expansion
Elsa, the graphics card suppler, has announced plans to transform its regional European sales agencies in France, Italy, the UK and Belgium into subsidiaries. The German graphics card firm says that the move will allow it to continue its expansion strategy with a new subsidiary in Spain which will open shortly.

NetObjects to sign up 100-plus resellers
NetObjects has announced its new reseller programme, through which it aims to have at least 100 new resellers signed up in the UK by the end of the year. In total, 500 new resellers will be signed up across the rest of Europe. The firm claims its reseller programme has been revised to offer more value to resellers and to further demonstrate the commitment that the e-business specialist has to developing its dealer channel strategy.
Benefits have been increased, the firm says, to emphasise the programmes focus on supporting parties. The company already has 23 resellers in the UK, but has now introduced free training, ongoing support, free access to NetObjects software and participation in the NetObjects Star programme, a sales incentive scheme at the dealer sales force. Claudia Lesch, the company's sales manager, said that partnerships are critical for business success in the 21st century. "The NetObjects reseller programme will provide help in the biggest challenge - prioritising their target markets and focusing on the best return. Compared to other software vendors, we do not see this programme as a revenue generator but as a chance for the new partner to gain expertise in working with our products," she said. To join the programme, a prospective partner must register with NetObjects and is then selected according to factors including company size, revenue and technical expertise. A principal requirement is the purchase of the NetObjects reseller kit. The kit which has a value of over $ 3,000, but is available to partners for $ 595, includes Fusion 5.0, NetObjects Authoring Server Suite 2000 Entry Edition, plus one years' access to both the partner Extranet and to NetObjects' software download site.
This enables resellers to download current versions of the software for free. Partnership renewal for the second year, the firm says, is $ 395. Further requirements to become authorised include maintaining a Web section for NetObjects products sales and two years experience using and selling software and hardware solutions to clients. Partners must also attend free NetObjects sales training at least every six months and on the release of a new product or version. The benefits for a reseller joining the programme include access to a network of resources to provide the complete solution. The network includes access to a full range of sales tools including white papers, sales presentations and product evaluation kits. Partners also have access to a solutions engineer as well as free NetObjects sales training through the distribution partner and co-marketing support for agreed activities.

Context, http://www.context1.com;
Computerland, http://www.computerland.co.uk;
A2000 Distribution, 0044-1483-852000 (GB), www.pocketpc.uk.com;
Elsa, 0044-118-965-7755 (GB), http://www.elsa.co.uk;
NetObjects, http://www.netobjects.com


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