CRN Survey: Channel Gives Nod To Custom Systems

Out of more than 200 solution providers questioned in October, 34 percent said white-box desktops were their best sellers, outpacing Dell with 28 percent and HP with 23 percent.

While that remained steady with September results, it was a marked increase from 28 percent in October 2003. It also came as HP regained some share among solution providers, jumping to 23 percent from 20 percent among those who listed HP desktops as their best sellers.

Of those same solution providers, 36 percent listed white boxes as their best-selling PC servers, a marked jump from 30 percent in September. In October 2003, just 24 percent listed white boxes as their best-selling PC servers.

Much of that year-over-year channel market share pickup for white-box PC servers came at the expense of HP. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company saw its share of best-selling PC servers in the channel tumble to 25 percent from 35 percent year over year through last month, though HP did gain 1 percent from September to October.

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"Everyone has talked about the refresh cycle for years," said David Bolling, president of Nor-Tech, a system builder in Burnsville, Minn. "Now, my resellers are telling me that everybody—government, education, small business—is starting to refresh. Servers, whitebooks, desktops are going ballistic now."

And when commercial accounts have opted to refresh, companies such as Nor-Tech have found themselves in a strong position against branded vendors.

"We're winning deals lately that, for sure, would have gone to the big branded companies before," Bolling said.