IT distributors may have to fight harder as IT vendors eye the direct distribution model.
In tablet computing, for example, market leader Apple has already made news recently for its moves in the SMB market that compete with its own channel. Its tablet offering, the iPad, is no exception. The company favors going to direct distribution in its battle against other vendors making tablets with operating systems such as Android. It gives Apple a built-in advantage to cut prices if necessary to punish competitors who must share tablet revenues with other technology partners.
B2B May Hold the Key
Other vendors have taken similar approaches in the market for mobile and computing offerings. Microsoft has a direct store in the U.S.; Blackberry has kiosks in the U.K., and there are rumors of Android-owner Google making similar moves.
For tablets in particular, the opportunity for IT distributors and their resellers may be in the B2B market. Here they can add value to the sale of tablets by appropriate consulting and handholding.
Changes in Channel Spaces
Channel-oriented vendors like Hewlett-Packard have also fueled uncertainty in the rest of the B2B market for IT.
Early in 2011, HP introduced its Strategic IT Advisory Services to “help CIOs use IT as a key driver of innovation, growth, and profitability,” a possible move into its channel’s space. At least IT distributors won’t have to worry about HP going to direct distribution in the B2B tablet market. The company took its tablet product TouchPad off the market in August 2011.
How much will IT distributors have to compete with vendors again in 2012? Will it be a tougher year for the channel because of this? Let us know your opinion in the Comments below.
Creative Commons Image Source: flickr Ian Muttoo