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Big Blue makes European channel u-turn look like fast oil tanker

Tells business partners in Monaco NetFinity Direct arrives

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IBM gave its European channel partners a bitter pill to swallow today when it told them it will sell its high-end NetFinity servers direct. The plan, which was already in place in the US, will now be implemented here in Europe, the partners are being told. The move marks the virtual end of IBM chairman Lou Gerstner's plan to sell through the channel. At a conference in San Diego three years ago, he produced an expensively produced business partners charter which pledged fidelity to its dealers and agents. However, things have changed, as previously reported here. IBM, throughout 1998, has taken steps to unify its entire server portfolio. The NetFinity family will, next year, include a number of enhancements to make it work with the Stealth RS family. And IBM has incentivised its sales force to sell not only the S/390 family, but AS/400s, RS machines, servers and even its ThinkPad notebooks. The business partners' arrival in Monaco, which is a pleasant place with usually fine weather, may not placate their anger at the move. ® Click for more stories

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