Acer Makes Push for Resellers

New initiative aims to encourage resellers to support Acer products and to reward channel partners.

Officials at Acer America Corp. have laid out a plan to bump up sales of consumer devices and drive their products deeper into the enterprise, and see reseller partners as a key part of that plan.

With that in mind, the San Jose, Calif., company this week launched the Acer Authorized Reseller Program, an initiative designed to encourage resellers to support Acer products and to reward channel partners.

The program involves everything from promotions and training to sales and marketing tools, and covers all of Acers services and products, including notebooks, tablet PCs, desktops, servers and monitors.

"The channel is so supremely important to Acer that we believe that we must fully support these partners with a formalized program which provides both pre- and post-support," Acer spokesman Richard Black said. "There is so much confusion within this market segment right now, with companies offering conflicting or competitive solutions to these channel providers, that we wanted to make sure that they realized that Acer was 100 percent committed to our channel program."

Company officials estimate that they work with more than 4,500 VARs, which they say give Acer America a local presence for both sales and support and keep the computer maker from having to invest in creating a direct selling system.

"We watched many of our competitors going around the channel and selling direct, but when we looked at the channel, it was much more efficient to use the structure already there," Frank K.W. Chang, product manager for servers for Acer America, said in an interview with eWEEK this spring.

Acer America recently renewed its push to expand beyond PCs and laptops and into the commercial server and storage space. Until the late 1990s, the company sold various hardware products, including servers. But due to some missteps—including moving away from the channel and into direct selling—Acer America began to see sales drop and financial losses. Parent company Acer Inc. in 2000 told its American subsidiary to pull back on servers and concentrate on notebooks and PCs.

Now the company is moving back into enterprise-level hardware. In May the company rolled out a 1U (1.75-inch-high) rack-mount server, the Altos R300, and this month is expected to come out with its 2U (3.5-inch) two-way R700, with storage devices late this year or early next.

At the same time, its pushing its PCs and notebooks, keeping pace with Intel Corp.s product rollouts. Most recently, Acer joined a number of computer makers in May to announce new desktops featuring Intels 865G "Springdale" chip set, and was an early adopter of Intels Centrino mobile platform. And the company is counting on resellers to help move this stuff.

The reseller program covers not only resellers but systems integrators, software makers and service providers. Those interested in joining must buy a minimum of Acer products, which determine whether the reseller becomes an authorized, preferred or premiere member. Sales figures will be reviewed every quarter to determine the members status.

Benefits of the program include rebates, promotions, competitive pricing and secure access to Acers reseller Web site.