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Compaq kicked Down Under over retail plans

Decision to open its own chain of stores has provoked angry reaction in channel

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Compaq is experiencing more than a little discomfort down under. As the PC giant reveals its plans to sell direct in the Australian market, it is being met by more than the usual channel whinging. Two of Australia's largest PC reseller chains have stopped selling Compaq kit in open retaliation to the direct-sales plan. The first, Harvey Norman, is Australia's leading PC retailer. Some estimates have valued its Compaq business at around $65 million per year. This is going to leave a hole in the Compaq coffers and it has been followed by the Harris Technology chain's decision to pull all Compaq kit off its shelves and Web sites. Long regarded as the channel's staunch ally, Compaq ruffled plenty of channel feathers when it started talking about selling direct, with many smaller resellers claiming they were being forced out of the market. The picture is slightly different in Australia than here in the UK, though, with Compaq opening up its own retail outlets. It is this decision to set up shop across Australia that has prompted some to sever ties with Compaq altogether. According to Newsbytes, Compaq is to open three stores in Brisbane and five in Melbourne. A store in Sydney is expected to open later this month. ®

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