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Compaq, which is now selling its Prosignia line of PCs for small businesses through retailers, is partnering with Ingram Micro and Tech Data for the two distributors to build some of its BTO PCs. Retailers will be able to order the BTO systems from the distributors with the option of having them shipped directly to their customers or to the stores. The BTO PCs are being built near Compaq's Houston headquarters.

Ingram Micro has unveiled a new end-user branding strategy for its Venture Tech Network members to help them position themselves as technology solutions providers in their local markets. VentureTech is a membership network of IT systems integrators targeting small- and mid-size businesses. The program, which will help raise awareness of the VentureTech Network while allowing members to retain their own identity, includes an advertising planner kit with customizable modules for buying ad space, creating print, radio and outdoor media campaigns, and public relations.

In other news, Ingram Micro has added 250 government and education technology resellers to its Partnership America program, which will now be marketed to the end-user community. Partnership America resellers – technology resellers that dedicate more than half their business to public-sector entities and institutions – receive a variety of services ranging from sales leads and marketing pass-through funds to training, bid support and product discounts.

Tech Data just reported record results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 31, 1999. Sales in the quarter jumped 82.3% to $3.85 billion, up from $2.11 billion for the previous fourth quarter. Net income for the period was $36.5 million, an increase of 39.6%, which includes a $3.2 million pre-tax gain from the sale of Macrotron AG. Fourth-quarter results include a full quarter of operations for the company's German subsidiary Computer 2000, which was acquired last July. For the year, sales increased 63.4% to $11.5 billion, up from $7.1 billion last year. Net income, including the $15.7 million gain from the Macrotron sale, was $129 million, a 44.1% increase.

Merisel has struck an alliance with public-sector financial and technology services company Comdisco to provide financial and technology services to resellers and integrators selling into governmental and educational institutions. The two companies will offer public sector resellers and system integrators targeting local, state and federal agencies and educational institutions the ability to offer customized, comprehensive financing and IT services.

D&H Distributing has launched an e-commerce division that will offer retailers a full complement of products and services, including delivery of products from six fully stocked warehouses; packaging with the retailer's logo and messages; complete electronic package tracking; and consumer rebate coupons. Retailers can link their e-commerce site to D&H's electronic product catalogs, with D&H providing support and delivery in a transparent fashion to the customer. Products include computer goods, home entertainment gear, educational products and home security items (for complete story, see TWICE, March 22, p. 4).

In other news, the company has been named a national distributor for TravRoute's mapping and car navigation software, including Road Trips Door-to-Door 1999 and Door-to-Door Co-Pilot, and tapped by Elsa for its entire line of video graphics accelerators.

Ingram Micro kicked off its premier traveling trade show, Showcase '99, in Anaheim, Calif., last week. The event, which is free of charge to resellers, provides resellers with an opportunity to discover new products, attend seminars, learn about the latest technologies, and meet with vendors and Ingram Micro representatives.

Among the new technology seminars and demonstrations will be a first look at Microsoft's Windows 2000 server and Ingram Micro's new Frameworks online configuration tool. Showcase '99 will also include a focus on Smart Solutions for Small Businesses, options in fiber-channel and storage-area networks as well as integrating CTI business solutions. During the nine-city tour, resellers will be treated to lunch, a sit-down dinner and live entertainment.


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