Dealer Info archief
jaargang 9, nummer 14, 1999
22 oktober, 1999
It's been a tough few weeks in the UK dealer channel, especially for independents, as the memory price hike that took hold at the beginning of October has caused many basic PC's to rise in price by around 200 pounds.
Considering that many independents were whacking out standard PC's to major corporates at around the 500 pounds mark, that's a major price increase - 40 per cent in a matter of a few weeks.
In contrast, many of the chains, most notably PC World, have kept their price increases at around 100 pounds for their entry-level machines. They can do this, partly because of the huge stocks they've had in their warehouses, and partly because their prices were around 20 to 30 per cent higher than the clone builders anyway.
As the memory price hike took its effect in mid-October, reports from the US suggest that the Y2K IT problem may also hit sales. Speaking in early October at the 29th Annual Banc of America Securities' Investment Conference, Kurt King, a senior computer systems industry analyst with the Bank of America, said that, in a recent survey of 60 end user organisations, he found signs of a spending fall-off in hardware.
As a result of this, he said, the BoA division is forecasting a possible sales slowdown in the computer marketplace due to the Y2K issue.
King told delegates at the five day event that Y2K is far from the `non-issue' for hardware spending that many financial investors believe it to be. `It will not be catastrophic, but we do expect to see a slowdown in the fourth quarter of 1999 especially in the server sector', he said, adding that, the firm's findings on e-commerce are quite encouraging, with large companies across several industries planning continued investments.
All this bad news on the price and sales front has to be bad news for the independent dealers who have already been knocked for six by the pricing bloodbaths of earlier in the year.
With unforeseen perfect timing, Hewlett-Packard has started shipping a new range of its value-for-money Brio systems to its UK dealers.
By teaming up with a number of third-party companies, including British Telecom, Trellix and Via Networks UK, the company has been able to offer small business PCs that allows companies to take themselves online for e-commerce.
This is really a fancy way of saying that the systems allow small firms to start up their own Web site sales operation, but the new Brio series are appealing from a pricing standpoint, as well as for their value-added approach.
All the new Brio PC's include the Brio Internet Centre which provides a complete and easy-to-use Internet service - from setting up an Internet connection to creating a Web site and selling online.
Entering the HP Brio Internet Centre, the user is presented with five main options: connect to the Internet for the first time; get business information online; create a Web site; create an online store; and control your costs using a free Internet costs counter.
The new Brios start off with an Intel Celeron 433 processor and sell from 529 pounds upwards. There are also dealer-supplier e-finance options starting at 18 pounds a month.
Tiny Computers, one of the first dealers to offer a free or discount PC to users switching to its Internet service and committing to routing telephone calls across its partner network, says it has secured 10 per cent of the new Internet user marketplace.
The firm claims that new users are coming online in the UK at the rate of 11.000 PC users per dat. The `Tiny OnLine' Internet service, the vendor says, is now signing up more than 10 per cent of this figure and the numbers are increasing every week.
Since its inception in March this year, the firm says its free-to-subscribe Tiny OnLine ISP operation, has been one of the fastest growing ISPs in the UK and currently has over 150,000 regular subscribers.
The software is pre-installed on all of the vendor's PCs and additional CD's are distributed through its nationwide network of 120 showrooms.
Neil Stevens, Tiny's marketing director, said that, in what has become a fiercely competitive market with more than 200 ISPs, securing 10 per cent market share of new users in six months is a great achievement.
`That's over 1,000 new customers coming on-line and visiting our range of Web channels every day of the week', he said, adding that, thanks to a number of new initiatives planned for later this year, the firm is hoping to reach 20 per cent within the next six months.
Nortel Networks has signed an interesting deal with DHL, the courier company, whereby spares of most mainstream networking hardware are stored at key DHL locations around the UK.
The move means that the networking company claims it can offer customers of dealers access to a four-hour replacement service on a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week basis.
The UK has been acting a test bed for the service, which will be extended to Western European later this year. The service offers customers access to a parts swapout service using DHL as the courier. Customers can also elect to opt for a cheaper overnight swapout service if they wish.
Martin Humphreys, director of Nortel's operational support services, said that, until the new service was introduced in mid-October, Nortel Networks, the company has been offering its customers a next-day spares delivery.
`Now, any company who signs up for this new service contract will receive replacement network components within just four hours of the fault being reported to us. The aim of the new, fast track delivery is to provide a single, reliable and responsive service during and beyond the warranty period of a customer's network,' he explained.
Humphreys said that, by the end of the year, all major West European countries will have access to the service, giving network operators a single point of contact for all their pan-European needs. `We're taking away all of the inventory management problems andlogistics headaches our customers would generally face in running a pan-European spares operation. As a result, this service solution offers real, added-value', he said.
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-2000), the Y2K specialist, has signed a key distribution deal with Ingram Micro Europe. The deal widens the distribution network for the firm's Y2K PC software, initially across the whole of the UK, and, by the time you read this, into Europe.
Under the deal. GMT's Check 2000 DataCop product suites will be available to all of Ingram Micro's dealer network. Vincenzo Baggio, vice president of Ingram Micro's marketing operation, said that the distributor is keen for its dealers and their customers to prepare for and protect against potential year 2000 problems.
Hewlett-Packard UK, 0044-1344-360000 (GB), http://www.hp.com;
Tiny Computers, 0044-1293-827302 (GB), http://www.tinyonline.net;
Nortel Networks, 0044-1628-437960 (GB), http://www.nortelnetworks.com;
Greenwich Mean Time, 0044-1239-825468 (GB), http://www.gmt-2000.com
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