Channel programs News

Symantec Moves To Open Distribution After Dropping Arrow

CRN Staff

Symantec, Cupertino, Calif., last month said it plans to drop Englewood, Colo.-based Arrow Electronics as an authorized Symantec distributor. According to a document from the Symantec North America Channel Office dated April 11, which was recently viewed by ChannelWeb, Arrow was officially dropped on May 15. Symantec's current distribution partners include Avnet Technology Solutions, Ingram Micro and Synnex.

That document also said Symantec is removing the requirement for "Limited Sourcing Addendums" -- the term Symantec uses to describe products sold in the closed distribution model -- from Unix-specialty authorized products.

Under the closed distribution model, some vendors force solution providers to choose an exclusive distribution partner for specific products. Solution providers typically must sign a contract with a distributor on a yearly basis with few opportunities to change distributors outside the yearly contract time.

Randy Cochran, vice president of channel sales at Symantec, said in an e-mailed statement in response to clarification about the company's distribution policy, that all LSAs have been eliminated.

"We've made changes to our partner ecosystem to help streamline our business and enable our partners to be more successful," Cochran wrote. "Limited sourcing agreements (sic) have been eliminated and [all of] our products and solutions are now available in an open source model. We believe this change will allow our partners and customers to more easily obtain the solutions they need to secure and manage their information. The technical requirements for our reseller community still exist and will continue to do so going forward."

It's a good move for the channel, said Zeki Yasar, CTO of Intellistore, a Mountain View, Calif.-based solution provider and Symantec partner. "As a solution integrator, it sounds like it gives us a little more choice of who we buy from," Yasar said.

For Fremont, Calif.-based Synnex, revenue from Symantec has more than doubled since April and the distributor has invested in more technical resources to help solution providers get into the higher-end product line, said Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing at Synnex.

"It opens up opportunity for more VARs to participate in the high-end arena," Stegner said. "It gives them the ability, now, to get more involved in it. We increased our tech support for those that couldn't afford to do it on their own. It gives them the chance to get into opportunities that didn't exist for them before."

Stegner did not think Symantec's open model would cause distributors and solution providers to get too aggressive on pricing.

"Realistically, on something like this, something more high end, price is a much smaller factor of the overall solution," he said. "If you're talking something out of a box vs. a solution, that might be the case. I don't see price pressure on a higher-end solution. The VAR has gone in and sold himself as a provider of a solution. It's not price-driven."

Ingram Micro executives, for their part, said the Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor has almost 50 dedicated Symantec licensing specialists on staff, including 13 Unix experts, as well as more than 20 technical support and field sales and marketing specialists to support solution providers.

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