And the winners are…

Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura was at Comdex Canada for a keynote speech Wednesday, but it was Canada’s high-tech leaders wrestling for honours at the 12th annual Resellers’ Choice Awards.

Computer Dealer News and publisher Plesman Communications Inc. polled thousands of resellers across the country to determine winners in more than 15 award categories. Some old favourites returned to claim top spots, but there were a few upsets as well.

Oakville, Ont.-based D-Link Networks beat out its closest rival 3Com Canada Inc. to take two categories, hubs and NICs. D-Link prevailed in a close race, ultimately beating out 3Com with strong reseller programs. D-Link’s David toppled the 3Com Goliath, said product marketing manager Sean McKee, thanks to “a renewed sales force, an extra push on the channel this year and an aggressive pricing program. We beat 3Com with decidedly less people.”

Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Ltd. was another double winner, taking awards for scanners and mono lasers, eking out a narrow margin over Lexmark by a mere decimal point in the voting.

LG Electronics Canada Inc. was a relative newcomer to the annual awards (they didn’t even finish in the final four last year), but walked off with the CD-ROM category over Creative Labs, AOpen and Acer.

Another upset came from in the graphics card category. Perennial winner ATI Technologies Inc. took a backseat to Nvidia. ATI actually finished third behind Nvidia and Matrox.

Notebook giant Toshiba of Canada Ltd. snagged the win in its category, one typically dominated by IBM. “We’re delighted with the win,” said Mary Ann Yule, vice-president of marketing for the Markham, Ont.-based company. “We built our entire business on the channel.” Toshiba launched several new entries in its Satellite notebook series last month, and will launch its enterprise 3000 series notebooks on July 16.

In the distributor category, Ingram Micro Canada took top slot over two-time winner Supercom. Dave Walsh, vice-president of marketing for Mississauga, Ont.-based Ingram attributed his company’s success to keen focus on its VARs. “If a distributor can have an R&D budget, it’s important to spend it on resellers,” he said. Ingram scored well in all the category’s criterion, with top marks in product assortment, inventory availability and online services. “I think the key for us here has been keeping (these) dimensions in site,” he said, quickly adding that winning an award is just icing on the cake. “We don’t implement big decisions with winning an award (in mind).”

Other category winners were Samsung for monitors, Xerox for colour lasers, Intel for motherboards, and relative newcomer Plextor for CD-RW drives.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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