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Toshiba gives disties reseller status

Giant IT vendor in "we've only got one contract" shocker...

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Two giant trade-only distributors have been given the green light to sell to end users thanks to Toshiba's contract policy. Last week the Japanese vendor made Ingram Micro its second broadline distributor in the UK, but the newly appointed company is not operating under a distributor's contract. Neither is Computer 2000, the only other lucky broadliner to hold a Toshiba franchise in the UK. Instead, both have reseller contracts, and are therefore legally entitled to sell to anyone they please –- including resellers' end-user customers. According to Gary Evans, Toshiba dealer sales manager: "They have Authorised Reseller Agreements and all our resellers in that agreement are entitled to sell to whoever they want to trade with." How did this blunder occur? Evans told The Register that Toshiba Europe has distributor-only agreements with its disties, thus enabling a two-tier selling system. But in the UK, Toshiba originally decided not to have any distributors, choosing instead to sell directly to its resellers. Which meant that when the time came that Toshiba wanted to sign up some distributors, it didn't have the necessary contracts drawn up. So it used the same contracts it uses for its resellers. In effect, Toshiba is powerless to control who its disties sell to. "We couldn't stop them from selling to end users," admitted Evans. "They could re-sell the products to anyone." However, as Evans pointed out, this would be counter-productive and damaging to the distributors' relationships with their channel partners. Computer 2000 said it had no intention of changing its reseller-only sales policy. There are seven other distributors in Toshiba's UK channel -– Hugh Symons, ISI, Logitek, CCD, ETC, Qudis and Elite. ®

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