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Bob Venero, president and CEO of Future Tech, a solution provider in Holbrook, NY, one of the largest VARs in the country, said he sees both the ASAP and SilverBack acquisitions as signs that Dell is getting closer to the channel.
"This makes Future Tech want to engage more in a partner alignment with Dell than we ever have in the past," said Venero, who works closely with ASAP Software in several accounts. "This is another sign that Dell is now engaging in a channel model. These moves at the end of the day put them closer to the VAR community, not farther away."
Venero said he is interested in having more strategic account discussions with Dell given its recent blockbuster acquistions. "The more Dell gets involved with the SilverBacks and ASAPs of the world, they are going to have to support those organizations with a continued route to market. For SilverBack, that was the VAR community, while a portion of ASAP's sales are through the VAR community. This could be looked at a couple of different ways, but I think Dell is heading more toward the channel than away from it." Even Dell's big deal with retail behemoth Wal-Mart is a sign that the company is getting more channel friendly, said Venero. "At the end of the day Wal-Mart is a reseller of product," he said.
Venero said it is too early to tell how the deal will affect his clients working with ASAP. He said he will be in touch with those customers and await word from ASAP on how field engagement could be affected.
One Midwest solution provider, who did not want to be identified, said he will move to swoop in and win some of ASAP's business in the wake of the confusion and chaos that usually accompanies an acquisition such as this. "Anytime there is disruption there is opportunity," said the executive. "You are going to have management changes, sales compensation changes, all sorts of changes that are going to have people and companies assessing their options. Every reseller in that area should take this as an opportunity."
The Dell deal is also a sign of software licensing price pressure and consolidation in the LAR segment of the market, VARs said. Last September, direct marketer Insight, a Dell rival, acquired LAR Software Spectrum, which had annual sales of $1.9 billion, for about $287 million.
Venero said the LAR consolidation could be a concern for some of his clients that buy Microsoft software licenses. "Microsoft has to be very careful about how much consolidation they allow because customers still need choice," he said. "If there is no choice there will be concerns at the customer level."
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