The appointment by IBM of a fifth New Zealand distributor should help it regain business lost to PC rivals Compaq and Hewlett-Packard, according to market researcher IDC.
IBM has gone outside its usual sales channel to appoint cellphone retailer Cellect an agent for its Thinkpad laptops and X-series range of Intel-based servers.
IDC analyst Mark Cribbens says some former IBM resellers have been moving to its competitors, especially Compaq and Hewlett Packard, which had been aggressively trying to get into the small and medium-sized business market.
"It's a step in the right direction and IBM needs to do more of it if it wants to pick up a greater share of the New Zealand market," says Cribbens.
IBM personal systems group manager Dean Hughes says Cellect is strong with telecommunications resellers, which he calls “an ideal synergy”.
"I believe it will give us some good incremental business over and above what we've got right now," says Hughes.
The agreement, IBM’s first since appointing Ingram Micro in 1999, will last until 2005, and is the first such alliance involving a telecommunications firm.
Cellect sees the move as an opportunity to expand.
"There has been a lot of interest from our existing resellers who want to broaden their offerings to include complete IT solutions and not just mobile communication products," says general manager Michael Hughey.