Dell’s Secret Channel

Dell and the channel are secretly growing fond of each other.

More and more VARs (value-added resellers), indifferent to shrinking hardware margins and prodded by price-sensitive customers, say they are buying Dell computers for their clients.

The Round Rock, Texas, PC maker embraced resellers by granting them visits from account representatives, sales support and even hardware discounts, VARs say.

Is there a chink in Dell’s armor? Click here to read more.

That Dell is seemingly growing fonder of the channel should be no surprise. Some industry insiders estimate that 20 percent or more of Dell’s revenue is derived from the channel. VARs offer the PC maker incremental business opportunities, which it might not have been able to win on its own. The company can also fill those orders using its traditional direct-sales mechanisms to provide hardware to the VARs at a time when it is wrestling with slowing unit shipment gains—and PC market growth itself is slowing, according to analysts and Intel—while it sees tougher competition from rivals Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo Group.

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