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Vendors beat up on Grey Market

'Joint education and joint outrage'

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Compaq and Hewlett-Packard are putting their weight behind an organisation aimed at discouraging consumers from buying grey market products.

The Anti-Gray Market Alliance (AGMA) says it will analyse the structure of the IT grey market, monitor the impact of grey market trading, and improve channel relationships.

It also wants to 'educate the marketplace about grey market activity', encourage people to report unauthorised grey market trading, and create a benchmark 'best practices' for its members.

The other companies behind the non-profit organisation, which held its first meeting last week, are Apple, Nortel Networks, 3Com, and Xerox.

David Colton, executive director of AGMA, says the group will spend its time issuing white papers, holding conferences and Web casts, going out into the field and explaining why grey trading is in league with the devil, and generally being "very pro-active".

"We can never stop the grey market, but maybe we can make a difference," he said today. "At least then when a consumer makes a purchase it should be an informed purchase."

Additional AGMA members are expected to be announced shortly, although Colton declined to comment on whether Microsoft would be on the list. The software giant's name is strangely absent from this anti-grey market movement.

"We are talking to many famous brands," said Colton.

Colton, who hopes to make AGMA an international organisation, added that combining "joint education and joint outrage" would be more effective than companies trying to combat grey trading individually.

Drew Cullen writes. The grey market is a: a valuable safety valve for component makers, disties and resellers, that have miscalculated on inventory and b: good for consumers. By imposing restrictive distribution practices, vendors seek to make customers pay higher prices than would otherwise be the case. We hope the AGMA fails. ®

Related Link

AGMA Web site

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