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Open letter hits out at gossip mongers

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VIP Computers has sent out an open letter to the industry, calling for the end of what it sees as the dog-eat-dog attitude of the IT sector. The Manchester-based components distributor warns that careless whispers following one company’s demise can often damage innocent suppliers or competitors. The letter, signed by VIP director Stan Cookson, urges the industry to take collective responsibility for its own actions. Otherwise, he warns: "The current perceived instability will continue and full credibility, for no fault of the companies that aspire to it, will remain an ideal." His letter follows: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE COMPUTER COMPONENT INDUSTRY It is understandable that when a company significant within this industry ceases to trade, for whatever reason -- voluntary liquidation, bankruptcy, the lack of ‘legal integrity’ -- there is fierce competition for the resultant free business. Rarely in today’s climate, however, could this competition be classed healthy, constructive or fair. Invariably -- no, without exception-- the demise of one company brings rumours predicting the instability of its most likely successor, or successors. In the vast majority of cases, these negative "whispers" are malicious, totally unfounded, cowardly and based upon ignorance. Always they are of unknown origin. Despite consistent year on year growth since 1990 and being in a demonstrably stable financial position, my own company has reputedly been "going down the tubes" no fewer than six times over the past twelve months. It is frustrating in the extreme that the perpetrators of such smears neither realise nor understand the harm they’re doing, not only to specific companies but also to the industry as a whole. First, they undermine customers’ confidence in a company’s ability to provide continuity and, more importantly, in the value of their own judgement. Second, and fundamental to everyone involved in the supply chain, is that the damage caused by an uncertain credit insurance industry can be devastating in terms of relationships with OEM’s and principal suppliers of componentry. Rumour mongers know that it takes time and effort to re-build bridges with both. If as an entity we are to expand as a credible business force, providing permanence and being worthy of the technologies we sell, the totally unnecessary "dog eat dog" malaise must be wiped-out. Collectively, the industry must work to self-imposed voluntary controls, develop its own ethics, and stop acting like the comparative infant that, in reality, it still is. Development cannot continue at a true rate of evolution in the negative environment of insecurity and instability: when an engaged telephone number automatically prompts the question ‘are they still in business?’ Yours sincerely, Stan Cookson Director VIP Computer Centre Ltd ®

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