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Ingram Micro and Computer 2000, the world's two biggest disties, want to move from a wholesale to a fee-based model of doing business. And they in turn want to impose a similar model on their customers, Microscope editor Billy McInnes reveals.

It makes sense. The classic wholesale IT channel model - distie buys stock from manufacturer and then sells on to reseller looks pretty unsustainable.

IT distributors take on board inventory risk, credit risk and for what - seven or eight margin points gross, if they are lucky - one or two points, if they're dealing in high volume commodity products. (That's why you sometimes hear disties talking about "transaction" margins.)

And from that margin, topped up with a bit of co-op, they have to fund marketing, pre-sales, post-sales and -sometimes - tech support. That's why IT distie don't make as much money as, say, UPS or Exel Logistics

. The fee-based model is coming to IT distribution. Only question is when - the manufacturers have got the better side of the deal right now - they'll be in no hurry to change. ®

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