Samsung Leasing On Tap

Aims to let resellers' customers finance upgrade of all IT equipment

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In an effort to step up its aggressive play for channel market share in the peripherals space, Samsung is readying a new channel leasing program that it could roll out in as little as a few weeks.

The Irvine, Calif.-based North American IT unit of the global electronics giant is in talks with a third party to create the program, executives said. They expect it will be a co-branded leasing solution for its resellers' customers, making Samsung one of the first broadline peripherals companies to offer such a financing option.

"This is something that could speed up payments to the reseller," said Rey Roque, vice president of marketing for Samsung's Digital Information Tech-
nology Division.

Roque said he expects the program to give resellers' customers the ability to finance upgrades of their entire lineup of IT equipment, including non-Samsung branded items such as other vendors' PCs and servers.

While Samsung does not make servers or PCs, in the North American market its financing option could compete immediately with finance offerings from vendors including IBM and Hewlett-Packard, Roque said.

"I think Samsung is really trying to drum up share," said Marc Wolfe, president of ProActive, an Oakland, N.J.-based solution provider and Samsung reseller. "I see this as an effort to have as few barriers to entry [for the customer] as possible."

Over the past two years, since Samsung said it would begin trying to re-engage the channel in North America, the maker of LCD monitors, color laser printers, hard drives and semiconductors has grown its lineup of resellers to 21,000, including 4,500 solution providers that regularly source products from the vendor via distribution. Along the way, the company created its Power Partner Program and instituted a reseller advisory council.

Wolfe said a Samsung leasing program could immediately be competitive because the vendor does not sell direct to end users.

"If this were offered by a company that steals clients, this could be a way for that company to get a client list," Wolfe said. "I know Samsung won't do that."

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