Could ?recover ground lost? for dealers after other sectors have colonised the PC hardware space

Analysis: Nokia looks to crack IT channel

Mobile phone giant Nokia is specifically targeting UK IT and PC dealers in its new push for smartphone dominance.

Having dropped its more traditional telco focussed partners, Nokia last month announced new deals with two of the IT sector’s biggest distributors – Ingram Micro and Micro-P – and an expansion of its partnership with Kondor for franchised accessories.

The disties will offer handsets and line rental contracts for retailers and resellers, tailored for both consumer and business customers.

“Both distributers offer Nokia a great opportunity to execute the new Nokia strategy, driving business growth into four key market sectors: Mobile dealer, retail, IT reseller and online,” said James Kitto, UK head of retail and distribution at Nokia. “We believe that [this will provide it/pc retailers with more avenues of business] – especially given the recent announcements around MSFT apps for Symbian and our forthcoming Nokia with Windows Phone products which are launching in Q4 this year.”

The convergence between the telco and PC sectors has been well documented, though it’s resulted in retailers like the Carphone Warehouse selling laptops, rather than necessarily producing more opportunities for PC dealers.

Gerry O’Keefe – MD of Micro-P told us: “It has been a tough number of years for the PC retailers, and one of the things we’re keen to bring is further revenue streams to them to recover some of the ground that’s been lost over time. So we’re also keen to bring the opportunities beyond mobile o tablets and indeed some of the fixed line offers that are out there at the moment.”

“We’ve got a big campaign ahead. We’ve invested in a lot of new staff. It’s a little bit of a gamble on my part but we felt the time was right to push on with mobile. The launch of Nokia’s Partner Portal is key evidence of Nokia’s desire to more directly support both existing and new IT/PC and mobile dealers. Nokia clearly have a desire to get closer to the channel and to work with us in a more joint and aligned approach than before.
There are exciting opportunities for IT/PC retailers in selling Nokia products.”

On the business reseller side, Ingram Micro argues the nature of the converged market now means smartphones are just as much in the remit as PC installation:

“The lines are blurring in a converging market; for example with mobile devices are they a smartphone, a phone or a business endpoint?” said Matthew Sanderson, MD, Ingram Micro UK.

“Business customers are increasingly looking to the IT reseller to consult and assist in this area, and as applications and productivity solutions become more readily available for Mobile OS’s so the trend accelerates and the IT Channel becomes a natural destination for mobility – conversations about VoIP telephones naturally expand to conversations about mobile telephony, conversations about network access or software licensing migrate into conversations about accessing data and email on the move.”

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