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License Online dumps UK office

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US dotcom License Online is to pull out of the UK and re-jig its business model.

The Seattle-based company brought in Jan Lawford, former commercial director at distributor CHS Electronics, to head up the London office in February. The plan then was to make the UK its European HQ.

But due to current IT market conditions the business will be scrapped, Michael Molendijk, License Online VP of marketing in the US, told The Register. The decision, made two weeks ago, is part of a re-jig by the company to ease investor worries and get into the black - it will make a public announcement shortly. Lawford will work as a consultant until the end of the year.

The company, which sells software licenses on the Net through the channel, needs to become profitable next year, and therefore decided to ditch any non-core activities and start selling services.

Hence the binning of the London office -which "wouldn't have been profitable in the short-term," according to Molendijk.

"We did a lot of homework and we just felt that in order to get to profitability in 2001 we needed to make these moves, he added. "We were just stretching ourselves too thin."

"The current market expects us to profitable sooner."

But License Online's decision to scrap the service has opened a window in the UK market - unlike existing services, it would have also let customers buy licenses by fixing them up with resellers through the site.

Tony Price, MD of UK e-reseller WStore, said License Online's withdrawal from the UK was "disastrous. They'd have had the market sewn up - at the time of pulling out there was no other solution ready for use in the UK.

"We're now hoping that one of our distributors will come up with a good solution - we haven't got time to build a licensing tool ourselves." ®

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