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Acer finds Ideal channel partner

Big plans to raise profile, and sell kit too

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Ideal Hardware has become a distributor of Acer notebook PCs, adding the Taiwanese manufacturing giant to its portfolio of systems. Although the agreement will cover the full range of Acer PC-based products, the initial emphasis will be on mobile computing, according to a statement issued by Ideal. The Chessington-based storage-to-servers distributor said it sees part of its role is to raise Acer's profile in the UK channel. This is certainly a moot point, as even though it is one of the world's top three manufacturers and has made PCs for a raft of major brand names, Acer still suffers from a lack of serious brand equity. That said, it has made significant gains in the UK notebook market, where it now holds around four per cent market share, putting it in the number six position, according to year-to-date Q2 99 figures from Dataquest. It is also a big hitter in mainland Europe and has long been the leading notebook vendor in Italy. Mark Walker, product manager and director at Ideal Hardware, said: "Acer has hidden its light under a bushel for too long and we look forward to helping it develop its brand perception and market share within the UK." And the addition last year of Scott Dodds to the Acer UK team should also go some way to raising this profile. Dodds, Acer UK's sales director, was formerly Compaq UK channel sales manager. They don't come much more high profile than that. Getting another distributor such as Ideal on board also ties in neatly with Acer's move to trim back on the amount of finished stock it holds and the end of all notebook shipments coming out of Taiwan. Instead, from now on, incomplete notebooks will be sent to local facilities where they will go through the final build and test phase. In the case of Europe, that will take place in Tilburg, Holland. Ideal's warehousing will no doubt come in very handy should Acer want to cut back further on inventory levels. ® Related stories: Ideal to split from parent group Acer turns to Compaq for sales director

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