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Microsoft signs ITE for retail push

Aims to strengthen presence in the Middle East after appointing ITE Distribution as its latest wholesale partner

Microsoft is bidding to strengthen its presence in the Middle East retail channel after appointing UAE-based ITE Distribution as its latest wholesale partner.

Exact details of the tie-up and countries covered by the arrangement currently remain unclear, but Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division — which is overseeing the partnership — confirmed that a contract had been signed by both parties.

Given ITE’s expertise in distributing PC peripherals and accessories it is likely that the deal covers Microsoft’s PC hardware portfolio — which includes mice, multimedia keyboards, gaming controllers and web cameras — and possibly certain packaged software lines.

The partnership is the most significant retail distribution move that Microsoft has made in the region since bringing Delta Business Products on board more than two and a half years ago. It was recruited by Microsoft to work closely with major retail accounts and help them manage in-store displays.

One retail channel source said it was surprised to hear Microsoft had increased the number of distributors when conditions in the retail market remained uncertain. “If you look at retail-focused distribution then you now have Delta and ITE, plus Logicom for hardware and Pluto for Xbox sales. Is there really extra capacity? We will have to see.”

Despite repeated attempts, ITE could not be reached for comment.