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By  Colin Browne Published  February 4, 2001

Editorial Leader|~||~||~|Dear colleague,

If you take a look at the lead story in this week's eCRN (click on the link at the botom of this page), you'll see that reseach data collected through our Web site at seems to have overthrown a long-held perception in the Middle East. That being, the fact that price is all end users are interested in and that nothing else matters.

Our research shows that 59% of the 87 responses care more for after sales and support than they do for price, which raises some interesting questions. The poll, by the way, indicated that respondents were evaluating a bid from their supplier, which was meant to exclude the value PC shopper who is unlikely to be evaluating such a bid.

The questions that are raised, as far as I can see, are: why do resellers still have this perception that price is everything and that the only way to win is to fight themselves into a corner where their profits are razor thin? And why, if that isn't the case, are we told all the time that it is?

If price is everything and when it comes down to the crunch, that is what customers will demand from their suppliers, then an overwhelming number of people lied in our poll. If it isn't the case, then why do resellers act like it is?

I think the poll shows reflects a willingness among serious customers to spend money as long as they are getting something decent in return. And I really believe that resellers with a serious attitude can finally stop shooting themselves in the feet and make some real money.

If our poll is totally accurate, it implies that customers are more fed up with shoddy service than they are with writing out a cheque, and in my travels, I have discovered that this is very often the case.

The result indicates that if you go low on price, you may not win a deal. If you offer a better overall package, you have a better chance. But why would anyone want to do that for a tiny margin?

The mantra for 2001 may be: build up the price and pack in the services. Leave those who wish to compete purely on price to their cheapskate customers with their unreasonable demands, and you get on with building a successful business.

As ever, you can reach me at:


Colin Browne
Editor - Computer Reseller News Middle East
ITP Middle East
PO Box 61480
Dubai JAFZ
Tel.: 971 4 282 9996
Fax.: 971 4 282 9599
||**||News|~||~||~|Giving the lowest price won't get you anywhere

Recent data collected by indicates that the image of the Middle East computer buyer as being highly-price conscious is redundant. Far from that in fact, 59% of the respondants to a recent online poll said that the offer of after sales service and support is the key to the opening of their wallets.

Only 10% said that price was their major concern.

In fact, price isn't even second. Customers'; previous experiences with their suppliers of IT solutions took that position, with a weighty 19%.

The poll presents an interesting counterpoint to the often-repeated message of many computer retailers that the only way they can be sure of a sale is to offer the best price; an action that many believe has consistently driven the value out of the low-to-middle range of the computer channel.

"PC resellers should take note of this new information and bear in mind that they may be missing the biggest opportunity available to them today," says Michelle Sturman, features editor of Computer Reseller News Middle East.

"In fact, in stark contrast to the age-old perception that customers are looking to spend as little as possible, our poll shows that they are far more interested in the peace of mind they take away with their purchase. I think that shows fairly clearly that the suggestion of a considerably cheaper price may have the effect of putting customers on their guard, rather than convincing them that they are getting a good deal," Sturman says.

You can see the results in our Vote Centre here:

Novell spins off content management solutions

Novell has spun off its content management products and services into a new venture called Volera.

Volera will integrate caching and content management services, creating what it calls a new breed of Internet intelligence that speeds and manages the delivery of content.

Nortel Networks and Accenture have signed definitive agreements with Volera to take equity positions in the new company, with closing expected within the next ninety days.

"This is a defining deal for our industry and Novell," said Eric Schmidt, chairman and chief executive officer of Novell. "The market has been looking for new platforms to deploy next generation Internet services and applications. With Nortel Networks and Accenture, we have the right partners to bring our highly competitive new platform to market. At Novell, we see Volera capturing early leadership in the rapidly developing Internet content networking market, one of the most promising on the Net."

Volera will deliver a content networking platform that provides the scale and intelligence to maximize the Internet's business potential. The newly formed company will work to create a next generation Internet where content, media and applications are delivered in the most efficient, secure and cost-effective way possible from source to destination. Additional details on Volera can be found at

"We are entering the content networking segment with great products, established distribution and partnerships, strong funding, and a complete team," said Simon Khalaf, president of Volera. "Our products and services set the industry standard in terms of speed, scalability and flexibility, while also offering end-to-end management capabilities that today's Internet customers demand," he added.

The agreements between Novell, Nortel Networks and Accenture call for the firms to provide to Volera over US$80 million in cash, as well as consulting services. Novell will also contribute technology and resources currently within the company's Net Content Services Group.

Oracle exec warns not to kill the e-commerce golden goose

A senior Oracle executive has advised regional governments that their efforts to fairly regulate e-commerce activities shouldn't result in the accidental killing of the golden goose.

Joseph Alhadeff, the company's vice president for global public policy, says that regulating e-commerce in advance of its wider development could strangle it before it's properly born. "There's a balance between developing an infrastructure that facilitates, and regulations that may limit," says Alhadeff.

He holds up the USA's recent investigations into business to business marketplaces as a good example of how to approach e-commerce and the issue of regulation. Authorities there have been concerned that large suppliers could use business to business marketplaces to bully huge cost savings out of suppliers.

It was also feared that larger suppliers would be able to more easily undercut smaller suppliers. Authorities were particularly concerned about marketplaces planned by the large auto manufacturers.

The authorities' conclusion and their current approach is not to legislate on B2B marketplaces in advance of problems occurring. Alhadeff says it's important to differentiate between issues specific to e-commerce and issues that are endemic to a whole industry sector. "The exchange merely reflects the marketplace," argues Alhadeff. "The technology is neutral in its outlook."

Alhadeff suggests that regions like the Middle East can take what works well outside and create a culturally appropriate model for the region. Alhadeff suggests The United Arab Emirates as one country that could take a lead.

"Because the Emirates has a mindset that is accepting of e-commerce technologies, it's a good place to do that convergence for the region," says Alhadeff.

MDS gains major Sun Microsystems accreditation

Mideast Data Systems (MDS) has joined the Sun partner elite by gaining Enterprise Country Reseller accreditation. The new certification is part of Sun's new world wide channel model, designed to get the channel more deeply involved with Sun and to assist them in achieving high levels of specialisation.

"We are delighted with the commitment to continuous improvement we have seen from MDS," said Manuel Makki, partner operations manager, Sun Microsystems Middle East Africa.

"Their increased value to Sun lies in their acute awareness of the changes in Information Technology that will affect the future of IT-intensive industries," he added.

The new channel model rewards focus and added value, and the reseller gains competitive discounts, a clear demarcation of roles and responsibilities and a closer relationship with Sun itself.

Through the new model, Sun says it is also heavily investing in channel training. The Sun competency training certification programme is designed to "improve the transfer of knowledge from Sun and introduces the use of new Web, portal and IT tools." says a Sun release.

To support the channel in this process, Sun is making an effort to lessen the burden of training, such as travel and time away from selling activities, by moving more training and testing to the Web.

CompuMe opens doors in Jeddah

CompuMe has opened its third regional location in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. According to CompuMe boss Dikran Tchablakian, this brings him closer to his aim: a store in every major centre which will form a regional one-stop shop for all computing needs.

"CompuMe megastores are designed to provide the widest choice of complete IT solutions, including IT facility setups, training and technical support services, web page design services, Intranet and Internet solutions," said Tchablakian, CompuMe's chief executive Officer.

"Jeddah is the latest in a string of CompuMe megastores that will roll out across the region over the next few years," he added.

CompuMe megastores offer a range of off-the-shelf computers, printers and other IT and mobile telecommunications products.

In addition, customers have the option of ordering customized CompuMe computers, assembled from a number of brands and delivered within 48 hours.

CompuMe megastores are also currently open in Dubai and Riyadh. The CompuMe network will encompass 25 megastores by 2003, all going according to plan, in locations that will include Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Turkey, Oman, Syria, Libya and Greece.

Great Plains buyout will not affect product pricing

Microsoft's acquisition of Great Plains will not effect pricing of the accounting and ERP software vendor's products, it has been announced. Speaking at a Great Plains seminar in Dubai on Wednesday, an unnamed Microsoft official said that prices of Great Plain's solutions would remain the same.

The seminar, which was organised by Great Plains, focussed on how companies could benefit from seamless integration of business management solutions. Seminar attendees included representatives from the financial services, telecommunications, transportation, utilities and the public sector.

"At this event we wanted to educate the UAE's business community about how enhanced business management software solutions, like Enterprise 6.0 can dramatically improve their working processes," said Ibrahim Metwally, director of Great Plains Middle East Channel Operations.

"Great Plains software solutions play a major role in enabling businesses around the globe to automate their operations and benefit from the e-business model," said Nizar Badwan, managing director of Great Plains Middle East.
||**||Incentives|~||~||~|Cisco Rewards now on for big prizes
Cisco Systems will reward qualifying resellers with new Audi TTs, Breitling watches, stays at the Burj Al Arab, and other spectacular prizes, for their exceptional sales of Cisco equipment.

To qualify for prizes, resellers must register with Cisco by hitting the link below, and then accumulate points towards these stunning prizes.

A full breakdown of points and values, and all you need to start collecting is on the Web site once you hit the link below.

To enrol in Cisco Rewards, you will require a Cisco Connection Online (CCO) User ID and Password. To obtain this, you need first to be registered as a Cisco reseller.

For further details, click on this link: href="">

3Com Focus Cash Mania
3Com launches its new promotion giving you the opportunity to start the new year with $$$ of cash!

Every month, based on the highest % of overachievement on monthly targets, eight winning companies will be announced!

At the end of the quarter, based on highest % of overachievement on quarterly targets, 15 winning companies will be awarded with cash!
Quarterly winners will be announced in the first week of March and will be awarded up to $5,000 for a Gold Partner, $3,000 for a Silver Partner, and $1,500 for a Bronze Partner.

Valid for Focus partners only on invoiced purchases from authorized distributors from 4 Dec 2000 to 4 March 2001.

For further details, please contact Focal Point on (UAE) 971 4 331 9533.

Special Discounts from Mentor Systems
Mentor Systems (L.L.C) offers special discounts for Dealers on Financial Accounting Solutions.

Sell the TOTAL Accounting System to your clients, based on 4GL, Delphi and MS-SQL. Completely Internet ready. Fully suited to the UAE market's requirements, and covering the following modules: Accounts Receivable, Accounts Payable, Inventory (Multi-Location), General Ledger (Multi-currency), Post-dated Cheques Module, Landed Cost calculation.

Make up-to 30% margins for selling the above solutions.

For further details, please contact:

Join Mindware with Microsoft and Xerox for this special promotion
Buy Microsoft Office std. at the current market price of US$410, Mindware will give you a Xerox C8 Inkjet printer at no extra cost. There is a minimum order of 5 units.

Offer is valid while stocks last.

For more information, please contact Rabab Hasan or Anuradha Basu at Mindware Dubai. Tel: (UAE) 971 4 221 9789/224 6240, or email:,, or

Join Saudi Business Machines for huge savings with IBM
SBM are offering a massive 50% discount on IBM RS/6000 servers: Top-rated Web server, High Density Packaging of Internet and Internet Applications, 64-bit performance and availability to handle your most demanding e-business, ERP, business intelligence and database applications.

For further information, email: or Tel: (KSA) 966 2 660 007

Mindware and Intel Express Router Promotion
Join Mindware and Intel for excellent pricing on Express 8000 & 9500 routers.

Intel Express 8000 series routers:
Part numbers:
ER8100ST: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x ISDN BRI
ER8100FR: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x WAN serial port
ER8210EU: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x WAN serial port, 1x console port

Intel Express 9500 series routers:
Part numbers:
ER9510ST: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x ISDN BRI, 1 x Serial WAN, 1 x
ER9515ST: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x 10 Mbps LAN, 1 x ISDN BRI, 1 x
serial WAN, 1 x console/Async
ER9530EU: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 2 x Serial WAN , 1 x console port/Async
ER9535EU: 1 x 10/100 LAN, 1 x 10 Mbps LAN, 2 x serial WAN, 1 x

For more information, email:

Tech Data & Novell: Small Business Suite 5 Offer
Tech Data and Novell are offering a special pricing on Small Business Suite 5. Small Business Suite 5 - unique market pricing is still available

Server + 5 user ONLY $372 (00662644339047)
Server + 10 user ONLY $533 (00662644339054)
Server + 25 user ONLY $904 (00662644339061)

For further details, visit: or Tel: 971 4 3346 952

Novell is also offering FREE Small Biz training. For further information, email:

Intel Network Interface Adapters pricing deal
Intel is offering IPIs a special pricing deal on Network Interface Adapters. This preferential pricing allows IPIs to buy a 20-pack at the same card unit cost as an 80-pack.

For more details, visit:

Intel Server rebate offer
Increase your margins on Intel server products with extra rebates on the PRO/100+ Server adapter.

For more details, visit:

Are you offering any special promotions?
Do you have a special promotion that you want to inform the channel about?

We would be happy to include any incentive programmes or special promotions that you are running each week in eCRN.

For more information - please send full details to Dealer Incentives.

For more information on the Middle East IT Reseller Channel - visit Computer Reseller News Online TODAY.
Do you have any events for the industry that you would like to see listed here?

If so please send a message to Events Diary today and we will add the listing in a future edition of eCRN.


February 4-8: Sun Educational Training Centre. System Administration I training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on system administration.

The training course is priced at $2250.

For further information and to register, email: or Tel: (UAE) 971 4 3366 333, or visit

February 11-15: Sun Educational Training Centre. System Administration II training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on system administration.

The training course is priced at $2250.

For further information and to register, email: or Tel: (UAE) 971 4 3366 333, or visit

February 20-22: Sun Educational Training Centre. Storage Management with DiskSuite training: Join Sun Microsystems for training on storage management.

The training course is priced at $1875.

For further information and to register, email: or Tel: (UAE) 971 4 3366 333, or visit

February 18-19: Oracle Sales Champion Training: a 2 day, 'fast track' sales training for sales managers and representatives of Oracle partners.

Oracle Sales Champion training will focus on the sales positioning, pricing and licensing of the Oracle product, as well as business practices.

An annual roadshow for both new and existing Oracle partners, Oracle Sales Champion training will show partners how to match the customer's e-business needs with the correct Oracle solution.

The course is essential for partners wishing to become an Oracle Certified Solution Partner, and is available by invitation only.

For further information, or to register, contact: or

February 4-5: Oracle Sales Champion Training: a 2 day, 'fast track' sales training for sales managers and representatives of Oracle partners.

Oracle Sales Champion training will focus on the sales positioning, pricing and licensing of the Oracle product, as well as business practices.

An annual roadshow for both new and existing Oracle partners, Oracle Sales Champion training will show partners how to match the customer's e-business needs with the correct Oracle solution.

The course is essential for partners wishing to become an Oracle Certified Solution Partner, and is available by invitation only.

For further information, or to register, contact: or

For more information on the Middle East's computer industry - why not visit - the region's leading business and technology web site.
||**||Recruitment|~||~||~|SEARCHING FOR CHANNEL PERSONNEL?
Are you looking to hire experienced channel people to expand your business? Why not advertise your positions to over 3,000 registered members of the Middle East reseller channel for FREE every week in eCRN?

If so please send a message to Recruitment today and we will add your job listing to the next edition of eCRN.

Hewlett-Packard: Corporate Channel Managers
Hewlett-Packard is looking for three people (1 in each of Dubai, Cairo & Riyadh) to manage HP's Corporate Channel.

The managers would work with large PC dealers in territories spread across 11 countries who have direct contracts with HP as well as manage the HP VAR Channel which sells high-end solutions.

Required experience: reseller channel knowledge in the region plus solutions sales experience. The ability to work at all levels in a reseller organisation and an understanding of channel issues. The right individuals are likely to be working today for either another IT vendor, a distributor, a software house or a reseller.

APPLY NOW: Please send an email attaching a CV to

Tech Data FZ LLC: Sales, Financial, and Marketing positions
Distribution without Limits!! These are wide-ranging roles in an environment that is creative, progressive, challenging and rewarding and the growth plans for the region are phenomenal.

Director of Sales: develop and ensure implementation of sales strategies and concepts in line with the company's strategies. Direct and control sales operations with the team to achieve agreed upon revenue and margin targets of the company within the company's strategy and to contribute to the country's annual operating plan. Ensure superior customer satisfaction.

Finance Director: you will ensure all projects and initiatives contribute to agreed strategic objectives, advise on maximizing collective income where opportunities impact on various divisions. Responsibilities include financial planning and a strong control regime in a multi-site environment and you will be charged with bringing a broad based knowledge of economic, financial and commercial trends and offer detailed leadership in the finance, treasury and accounting functions

Marketing and Communications Manager: develop and ensure implementation of Marketing strategies and concepts in line with the company's strategies. Direct and control the marketing operations and resources to support the Sales, Finance and Operations functions in achieving agreed upon targets within the annual operating plan.

Apply now: contact Zakeera Vidler HR Manager in full confidence on

||**||Next Month|~||~||~|In Next Month's Computer Reseller News Middle East


The 'new' IT distributors?
Delivery of any goods to a customer relies on the safety and care of the package, but mostly, the speed of which it can be delivered. IT distributors may have this down pat, but more generic logistics companies are encroaching on that territory.

State of Online Sales in the Middle East
Despite the fantastic figures cited by analysts about US sales online, the Middle East is behind, and by a long way. There are so few successful online B2C sites in the region, and those that could be termed ‘a success’ are struggling to command any siginificant sales. Is it still too soon for businesses to rely on people shopping online?

SMB Networking
Pointing out the business benefits of networking to small businesses and getting them to understand what it is that they can do and can have, is the key to success for the SMB reseller in this vast market.

The Channel in Partnership
What would happen if you were awarded a contract, worth a couple of hundred thousand dollars in profit, but your expertise is stretched to the limit and beyond in actually fulfilling the deal. Would you enlist the help of another VAR that does have the expertise you are lacking? Where does this happen in the Middle East today?

Behind the Scenes: financial trends; who is winning and who is losing; company acquisitions, mergers, and sell-offs.

Fast Forward: finding new solution add-ons to increase your overall margins.

E-Business: technologies and trends in this emerging channel opportunity.

Logistics: logistics, shelf life, and product cycles and how they affect the channel.

Upstarts & Startups: companies bucking the trends and new technologists with no respect for the status quo.

Infrastructure: the big-project VARs and what they are working on now.

Dealers Wanted: information on all the new vendors looking for resellers in the Middle East.

If you think you have anything to contribute to one of the above features - we would be very happy to hear from you. Contact CRN editorial at ||**||

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