The suppliers and sellers of technology converged on the Blue Mountain resort in Collingwood, Ont., this week for Comptia Canada’s annual Solution Provider Breakaway event.

Kyocera-Mita Canada

At the event, Kyocera-Mita Canada released its latest laser colour printer. Called the

FS-C5016N, this 17-page-per-minute machine is breaking new barriers in terms of the cost per page, according to Marco Nalli, product specialist for the Mississauga, Ont.-based vendor.

“”Right off the bat you get 6.5 cents per page in colour excluding service and the cost of the machine ($3,650),”” Nalli said.

For the reseller, Kyocera-Mita Canada is trying to provide profitability more so than marketshare, Nalli said.

“”Nowadays the printer market is a commodity market and you need to save customers money,”” he said.

This is one of the reasons why Kyocera-Mita Canada does not have a distribution partner. The company has opted to go direct to the reseller to save them money and also to have a more personal relationship, Nalli said.

Kyocera-Mita Canada’s goal is to attain 50 quality VARs across Canada.

“”We don’t want 2,000 VARs selling our products. That only strengthens the commodity market and it allows our resellers to capture the consumables sales, which is non-existent today since they all go to Staples, Costco and Grand &Toy. We only sell consumables through partners,”” Nalli said.

Currently, Kyocera-Mita Canada has only reached 25 per cent of its VAR goal and Nalli expects to meet the 50 VAR mandate by the end of the year.

The company has launched a new spiff program called KMBA, which stands for Kyocera-Mita Business Achievement. Resellers in this program can earn double the points for whatever they sell. The Web-based program will enable VARs to cash in those points for cars, cash, trips and home electronic products.

The double points plan ends September 30th, while the KMBA program ends April 30, 2004.

LG Electronics Canada

Also at the event LG Electronics released a three-year LCD swap warranty plan. This plan is intended to help LG in the corporate space.

Ross Snow, LG Canada vice-president, said the company will be working with partners to develop programs for service and support to better compete in the corporate space.

“”It is hard to make any money in this space and we need to add value and for them (the reseller) to add value to the product,”” Snow said.

LG has grown its marketshare in Canada by 22 per cent in a year that saw the overall market dip six per cent.

“”People see the total cost of the product. It is more than price. It is innovative products and programs and LG still invests significant dollars in the channel,”” Snow added.

Mobel Electronics

Meanwhile, Mobel Electronics, a long-time Breakaway participant was telling the VARs at the show of all the company’s new memory lines.

In the past 18 months, Mobel has added Corsair for the gaming market, Apacer for the USB market, Crucial for the upgrade market and Microspectech for the white box market place all the while still carrying Kingston KVR memory and its own Azen line.

“”Everyone is asking for this (Corsair). In the last three or four months we have doubled our business. It can go to higher end niche markets besides gaming. Those who are looking for performance,”” said Jimmy Stillo, vice-president of Mobel on Montreal.

Mobel also announced a Kingston buy-back program. Mobel or Kingston will buy back the old memory for those resellers who are upgrading clients with more memory or newer systems, Stillo said.

InoStor

New to Breakaway this year is InoStor. InoStor is the result of the April 2002 merger between Oslo, Norway-based tape storage developer Tanberg Data and San Diego-based disk storage vendor Land-5 Corp.

The new company released the ValuNAS network storage device at the show and are looking to partner up with 10 to 15 specialized VARs to promote and resell this product along with its IntelliNAS and PerformNAS units as well.

“”It’s a blended tape/disk product for NAS environments. It is an Ethernet-based storage device with RAIDN software for running on your own IP address,”” said David Licosati, vice-president, business development NAS sales for InoStor of Poway, Calif.

InoStor’s product line is targeted at the SMB space with a price range between US$5,000 to US$22,000. The ValuNAS product has a price range of US$6,000 to US$15,000.

Licosati said InoStor is working on developing Canadian pricing for this market.

The company has forged distribution partnerships with Ingram Micro Canada, EMJ Data Systems and Bell Microproducts Canada.

The key to InoStor’s channel plan is the 60-day exclusive reseller opportunity plan. InoStor VARs can sign up and register an opportunity with the company and that deal will be protected for 60 days. This, according to Licosati, ensures high margins because competitors will not be able to drive the price down.

Typical margins from InoStor products range from 20 to 25 per cent, he said.

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