Expanding its push into midsize companies, Microsoft has given one of its distributors that is focused on that market exclusive rights to resell special versions of some of its server software products.
Distributor Avnet Hall-Mark, a unit of Avnet, is the only company in Microsoft's OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) distributor channel authorized to sell OEM versions of Application Center 2000, BizTalk Server 2002, SQL Server 2000 and the Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA), Microsoft said.
The OEM versions come with tools that system builders use to install the products, and they must be sold installed on a server. The OEM versions offer certain "cost advantages" to the distributor and its VAR (value added reseller) partners compared to other versions of the products, an Avnet official said, although he declined to elaborate.
Avnet works with about 2,500 VARs in the U.S. that target primarily midmarket companies and small enterprises, which it defines as companies with annual revenue of between $50 million and $1 billion.
Microsoft hopes to triple the amount of business it does through Avnet in the first year as a result of allowing it to sell the server products, said Pip Marlow, a director in Microsoft's U.S. partner group. The amount of business Microsoft does with Avnet is "in the millions" of dollars per year, she said, declining to be more specific.
With many large enterprises closely watching their spending, many IT vendors have been looking to the largely untapped midmarket as a way to increase sales.