eChannel 29 March 2001

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By  Colin Browne Published  March 29, 2001

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

Throughout the Dubai Shopping Festival, the Gulf News has been full of adverts - from Compaq and Acer dealers specifically - for low-cost PCs, aimed at the consumer market. It's hard to see how local assemblers can possibly be competitive in the face of such pressure from the brands.

That pressure is not limited to the consumer space either - there is an equally dramatic squeeze apparent in the corporate market.

And although that downwards pressure on pricing has been with us for years, and has been growing steadily more acute throughout that time, it is beginning to look like the game is over for assemblers who use price as their key advantage.

A meeting today with Servex's Rahul Gupta on the other hand, revealed a strategy which may buy assemblers a little more time.

He spoke of a new initiative in which 'bare-bones' PCs would be made available for sale to the assembly channel. It isn't a brand new idea, but it certainly has a lot of advantages in today's market.

Servex would hold the stock - meaning assemblers don't have their precious cash flow blocked up - and all they have to do is place an order, add a processor, hard disk, and RAM to the system, and affix their logo to the front.

The result is a high-quality PC (Gupta says that the components will be top-notch), which, hopefully, resellers should be able to sell, and then never hear from again. In other words, it will work the way it should, thus saving the reseller the costs of repair and re-configuration.

At the same time, the people in the back rooms who used to do the actual assembly in the old model, will be freed up to get on the phone and do some selling.

It will require that resellers are willing to insist on a slightly higher price point than they are used to, but it will still beat out the brands on retail price.

And with the extra business that your newly-created sales team can bring in (at no extra cost, by the way), you could begin to see your business fly.

You don't have to look too closely to see the potential.

As ever, you can reach me at: colin.browne@itp.net

Regards,

Colin Browne
Editor - Computer Reseller News Middle East
ITP Middle East
PO Box 61480
Dubai JAFZ
UAE
Tel.: 971 4 282 9996
Fax.: 971 4 282 9599
Email: colin.browne@itp.net
||**||News|~||~||~|eTech Security and Accenture form alliance

Accenture partnered with IT security solutions provider, eTech Security, this week, to speed up the adoption of security solutions throughout the Middle East region.

In the new e-age security is an aspect which requires close scrutiny and the partners hope to help companies protect their most valuable assets, such as data and IT infrastructure, against the lingering threat of hacking and viruses. A primary goal of the alliance is to offer companies the ability to secure their enterprise by building security policies and procedures to safeguard their confidential client and financial information as well as data networks, Web sites and e-commerce transactions.

"Organisations in the Middle East are constantly working to ensure business continuity for their clients, and a viable security policy can increase competitive edge, improve profitability, ensure legal compliance and protect corporate image," said Issam Amin, managing director of eTech Security.

As part of the new partnership, eTech Security and Accenture will initially target the financial services and telecommunications industries, before increasing the scope of the alliance to include other sectors.

"The Middle East's banking and telecoms sectors are among the most security-conscious, given their vast amount of confidential data as well as the increasing range of Internet-based services they offer customers," said Steve Crutchley, regional director of eTech Security. "As they create initiatives from Web hosting to Internet banking, these types of companies require industry-specific, client-tailored security solutions to prevent service disruptions and maintain the integrity of their data."

Philippe Rixhon of Accenture Middle East said that both parties would benefit from each other's expertise and skills in the partnership, allowing them to provide the ideal security and consultancy service to customers. "For enterprises in the Middle East, security has moved from being an IT-driven issue to being a critical component of corporate strategy," he added.

Kuwait mobile sale "will cost the public millions"

The part-privatisation of Kuwait's largest mobile phone operator is in jeopardy after the country's parliament voted to hold an urgent debate on the issue, amid allegations that the sale will benefit a few individuals at the expense of the public.

36 members of parliament made the move after it was announced that the sale of half the state's 49.2% share in Mobiles Telecommunications Co at a discounted price would deprive the public purse of US $162 million.

The controversial plan would allow a buyer to snap up 113 million shares in MTC for 25% less than they are actually worth.

The MPs who requested an investigation said that the arrangement "is surrounded by many questions," hinting that it could lead to personal gain for a handful of people while losing the country millions of dollars.

Shares in MTC, the largest of Kuwait's two mobile operators, slipped 5.2% last week when the initial announcement of the cut-price sale was made.

The Kuwait Investment Authority launched a privatisation programme in 1994 to sell off local companies, making $3 billion in the process.

The plan was scrapped three years ago amid fears of under-valuing companies when the market started to decline.

The KIA has tried to resurrect the programme, but the opposition MPs said that the previous system cost the public millions, and that to re-launch the same plan would be disastrous for Kuwait as a whole.

Microsoft releases Windows XP Beta 2

Microsoft has taken the next step toward unifying its operating systems under a single code base by releasing Beta 2 of its upcoming Windows XP.

Expected to be released in the third quarter of this year, XP will be available in several forms, including Windows XP Home Edition for consumers and small businesses and Windows XP Professional for larger versions. A third version, Windows XP 64 bit edition, will be available for technical workstation users.

"Windows XP represents the realisation of a dream of Microsoft for a long time," said Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect, Microsoft." Take the code base of Windows NT and make it the code base of the entire PC."

Also included in the XP family is the embedded server version, code named Talisker, and the server version, which the company has yet to name. The Home, Professional and 64-bit editions of XP expected to be released to manufacturing early in the third quarter of this year. The server version of Windows XP will be released later.

Five years before Middle East B2B is reality, says top regional banker

B2B opportunities are emerging in the region, but according to Sagheer Mufti, GM, head of operations/technology and e-commerce, Saudi American Bank (SAMBA), it could be five years before Gulf corporates are able to seize these opportunities.

"Corporate culture is becoming firmly entrenched in today's Middle East and a sophisticated market place exists," said Mufti. "B2B exchanges can be valuable alliance partners for these corporates, so we envisage B2B opportunities and growth throughout the region."

However, e-commerce in the region is hindered by the lack of enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms in medium-large companies.

"Large organisations in the Middle East should scale their back-end automation first. The next step is to invest in the e-procurement infrastructure to enable them to purchase online," added Mufti.

"A minimum of five years is needed to achieve this level of maturity in the region. However experience in other parts of the world has shown that if the SME sector realises the benefits, they will move faster than most forecasts indicate."

Mufti was speaking in advance of ABTEC 2001, the first Arab E-Banking and E-Security summit, to be held on April 8th and 9th, in partnership with www.sheikhmohammed.co.ae.

The SAMBA e-commerce chief will deliver a presentation, 'B2B Exchanges: Hype and Reality,' at the conference, aimed at establishing the regional e-commerce progress. SAMBA see three key e-commerce opportunities for banks; providing e-payment settlement solutions for e-trading communities, utilising e-commerce for internal needs and supporting client online transactions.

The summit will be held at Emirates Towers Hotel in Dubai, and more than 250 Arab, Islamic and international bankers are expected to attend.

"No bank can ignore the onset of e-commerce and ABTEC 2001 will address the regional successes, shortcomings and requirements to adopt the technology while satisfying shareholder and client security requirements," said Douglas Mellor of International Transmedia Limited.

Bahrain government signs deal with Microsoft

The government of Bahrain has signed an Enterprise agreement with Microsoft Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean (GEM) to standardise on Microsoft products and technologies, including Windows 2000, Office 2000 and the BackOffice suite of servers.

"We are pleased to have reached this historic agreement with Microsoft," said Sheikh Mohammed Bin Attiyatullah Al Khalifa, President of the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO). "Microsoft has shown a long term commitment to the Arab market and their investment in Arabic language functionality within their products is a reflection of that commitment. We believe that technology will play an increasingly important role in the government of Bahrain, the local economy and the services that are extended to its citizens."

The agreement will reduce the overall cost of technology acquisition, software asset management, deployment, and ongoing upgrades for the government of Bahrain.

"Standardising on the Microsoft platform will provide us with a solid base as well as exceptional scalability and reliability," added HH Sheikh Mohammed Al Khalifa.

Computer World has been given the reseller contract, and will deploy the software and provide technical support services to the government.

Kuwait continues piracy crackdown

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Information has continued its purge against software piracy, confiscating 38,000 compact disks loaded with counterfeit software from a reseller in Hawalli.

"Kuwait's authorities have been highly active in pursuing counterfeit software and this action merely re-emphasises the message that should already have been received loud and clear by vendors of illegal software," said Jawad Al Redha, regional director of the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

"This haul is significant because of its size: even at nominal value per CD of software, this haul would be worth well in excess of a million dollars," added Al Redha.

The Hawalli area has been a prime target in the piracy crackdown. Just last week a consultancy company in the area was raided and faces prosecution after it was found to have illegal software.

"I think that the message being sent by the Kuwait authorities is clear enough for anyone to understand. Counterfeit software is no longer a business with a future in Kuwait; it is illegal to duplicate, distribute, sell or use unlicensed software and anybody doing so faces the full weight of the law," warned Al Redha.

Intel plans to launch low-powered notebook chip

Intel has made moves to improve laptop battery life, with newly announced plans to release first chip designed from the ground up to power notebooks. Due out at the end of 2002, the new chip is part of an increased focus on the laptop market by Intel, as well as other chipmakers.

"There are a lot of unique, mobile characteristics," said Frank Spindler, general manager of Intel's mobile unit. "You can think of it as a new architecture. We may add performance through different techniques and core architectures."

The upcoming chip, which is apparently named after an archaeological site in the Middle East, will differ from other Intel notebook chips in two fundamental ways. Firstly, it will contain more power conservation features than current notebook processors. Secondly, the chip will have a distinct architecture from Intel's desktop chips, and is intended to coexist with a mobile version of Pentium 4, but consume less power.
||**||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: http://www.cisco.com/rewards/emea/how.html

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: email:mentor@emirates.net.ae.

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: sales@mindware.co.ae, rabab_hasan@mindware.co.ae, or anuradha_basu@mindware.co.ae

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: Majeds@sa.ibm.com 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
console/Async
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
console/Async

For more information, email: ayten_polad@mindware.co.ae.

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: http://www.novellmoneymaker.com or Tel: 971 4 3346 952

Novell is also offering FREE Small Biz training. For further information, email: info_mideast@novell.com

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: http://program.intel.com/ipi/en/index.htm

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

For more details, visit: http://program.intel.com/ipi/en/index.htm

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.
||**||Training Diary|~||~||~|ARE YOU HOSTING A RESELLER EVENT?
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.

Bahrain

April 7: Gulf Hotel, 08:30 to 17:00: ACN & Arabian Business.Com Electronic Security in the e-Age Road Show.

Join the editors of the market-leading IT and business publications from ITP, Arabian Computer News and Arabian Business.Com for the first ITP road show.

Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Mohammed Bin Ateyatulla Al Khalifa, President, CSO and together with sponsors Internet Security Systems, HP, Network Security Assurance Group, Computer Associates, Arabtrust and Al Falak the day long event will have the latest information about security needs and illustrate how to acquire the skills to construct effective defence systems

Attendance is FREE to resellers who register in advance.

The Electronic Security Road Show was designed with the ‘Reseller’ in mind and we have built into it special sessions to ensure your knowledge is up-dated on the latest technology thus optimising opportunities to increase your business.

Learn what customers in this niche market are crying out for and discover the issues on how to close such deals.

During the networking breaks take this opportunity to mix with your existing and indeed potential clients.

It’s FREE to you as a reseller but, you must register at www.itp.net/events/esecurity.htm.

Please see www.itp.net/events for a full list of Ministerial/Government/Industry Speakers & Sponsors.

Kuwait

April 4: Sheraton Hotel, Kuwait, 08:30 to 17:00: ACN & Arabian Business.Com Electronic Security in the e-Age Road Show.

Join the editors of the market-leading IT and business publications from ITP, Arabian Computer News and Arabian Business.Com for the first ITP road show.

Under the patronage of the government of Kuwait and together with sponsors Internet Security Systems, HP, Network Security Assurance Group, Computer Associates, Arabtrust and Al Falak the day long event will have the latest information about security needs and illustrate how to acquire the skills to construct effective defence systems

Attendance is FREE to resellers who register in advance.

The Electronic Security Road Show was designed with the ‘Reseller’ in mind and we have built into it special sessions to ensure your knowledge is up-dated on the latest technology thus optimising opportunities to increase your business.

Learn what customers in this niche market are crying out for and discover the issues on how to close such deals.

During the networking breaks take this opportunity to mix with your existing and indeed potential clients.

It’s FREE to you as a reseller but, you must register at www.itp.net/events/esecurity.htm.

Please see www.itp.net/events for a full list of Ministerial/Government/Industry Speakers & Sponsors.

Oman

March 31: Interncontinental Hotel, 08:30 to 17:00: ACN & Arabian Business.Com Electronic Security in the e-Age Road Show.

Join the editors of the market-leading IT and business publications from ITP, Arabian Computer News and Arabian Business.Com for the first ITP road show.

Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Saud Bin Suliaman Al Nabhani, Undersecretary, Ministry of Communications and together with sponsors Internet Security Systems, HP, Network Security Assurance Group, Computer Associates, Arabtrust and Al Falak the day long event will have the latest information about security needs and illustrate how to acquire the skills to construct effective defence systems

Attendance is FREE to resellers who register in advance.

The Electronic Security Road Show was designed with the ‘Reseller’ in mind and we have built into it special sessions to ensure your knowledge is up-dated on the latest technology thus optimising opportunities to increase your business.

Learn what customers in this niche market are crying out for and discover the issues on how to close such deals.

During the networking breaks take this opportunity to mix with your existing and indeed potential clients.

It’s FREE to you as a reseller but, you must register at www.itp.net/events/esecurity.htm.

Please see www.itp.net/events for a full list of Ministerial/Government/Industry Speakers & Sponsors.

Qatar

April 2: Sheraton Hotel, Doha, 08:30 to 17:00: ACN & Arabian Business.Com Electronic Security in the e-Age Road Show.

Join the editors of the market-leading IT and business publications from ITP, Arabian Computer News and Arabian Business.Com for the first ITP road show.

Under the patronage of Hamad Bin Abdulla Al-Atteya, CEO of Q-Tel and together with sponsors Internet Security Systems, HP, Network Security Assurance Group, Computer Associates, Arabtrust and Al Falak the day long event will have the latest information about security needs and illustrate how to acquire the skills to construct effective defence systems.

Attendance is FREE to resellers who register in advance.

The Electronic Security Road Show was designed with the ‘Reseller’ in mind and we have built into it special sessions to ensure your knowledge is up-dated on the latest technology thus optimising opportunities to increase your business.

Learn what customers in this niche market are crying out for and discover the issues on how to close such deals.

During the networking breaks take this opportunity to mix with your existing and indeed potential clients.

It’s FREE to you as a reseller but, you must register at www.itp.net/events/esecurity.htm.

Please see www.itp.net/events for a full list of Ministerial/Government/Industry Speakers & Sponsors.

For more information on the Middle East's computer industry - why not visit www.ITP.net - the region's leading business and technology web site.
||**||Recruitment|~||~||~|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.

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 ZakeeraV@techdata.co.ae

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

APRIL 2001 FEATURES

Skill shortage in the channel
It's discussion time for recruitment, training, and consultancy firms as they and their vendor/reseller customers tell us where the shortages lie, why they exist, and what can be done about it.

Business to Business portals
There is an opportunity brewing on the Web to make yourselves a primary partner for a number of IT-hungry businesses, and to give you the access you may not have been able to achieve before. Why Tejari.com, Ariba, and Commerce One want your business.

Biometrics
No longer simply the stuff of Mission Impossible films, biometric technology is slipping into mainstream devices such as notebooks, keyboards, and scanners. So what is in it for you?

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 crn.newsdesk@itpmedia.com ||**||

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