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Compaq cuts off Web resellers

Distributors told not to supply the ‘no value’ sites

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The world’s number one PC maker has hit out at online resellers, saying they offer the customer "no value-add." In an unprecedented move, Compaq has severed all links with resellers who sell its Presario range of home PCs over the Web, but who do not also have a real-world outlet. In this week's Computer Reseller News, Mike Pocock, Compaq vice president of channel sales is reported to have said the manufacturer has received in excess of 40 requests from online resellers looking for Compaq accreditation. But no such blessing has been forthcoming; according to Pocock: "They bring no value-add." This decision has surprised some channel watchers, one of whom reacted by saying: "Surely the notion of value-add is that it is in the eye of the beholder. If the customer likes the idea of buying over the Web and they can do so cheaper, then there’s the value." Some of the heavyweights of distribution have been supplying kit to these sites, including Ingram Micro and Tech Data, but they have now been told by Compaq to stop. In the UK, Compaq would be prevented from taking such action by laws governing restrictive trades. A Compaq US representative said the motivation behind this move was to try and bring some control to the rapidly expanding market for online PC sales. Shopping.com, recently bought by Compaq, is one of the sites affected by the shut down. ® No such thing as a free PC Onsale sells PCs at zero margin Free-pc.com locks aim on UK

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