Borland UK won't follow US overhaul

Borland in the UK said today it won't follow its US parent's drastic changes to channel structure.

While over the pond, Borland has announced that it is spinning off its channel sales division to create the independent Frontline Now and that it will concentrate internal efforts on selling direct, UK managing director Nigel Brown said there are no plans to replicate the plan here.

"It's purely a US announcement and will only apply there," Brown said. "They're outsourcing channel sales and management to invest in direct sales and relationships with value-added resellers (VARs). In the US, channel sales haven't grown as quickly but in the UK our channel is growing stronger and the edges [of sales strategies] are a lot more blurred. Their retail outlets make B&Q look small but we can sell high-end products through mail-order firms like Programmer's Paradise. In the UK, we don't differentiate as clearly by channel sectors."

However, Brown admitted that changes to the product mix - particularly the recent purchase of object-oriented middleware developer Visigenic - meant that more direct sales and high-end VAR relationships were likely in the UK.

"With Visigenic, you're talking about deals with £50-100,000 worth of products and very long sales cycles. It was never a product that was going to be put through [mail-order vendor] Software Warehouse or [superstore chain] PC World. The same applied when we began selling AS/400 and SAP versions of Delphi: we looked for AS/400 and SAP resellers. Our core channel business remains key, though."

Brown also said it won't be in hot pursuit of another channel favoured by the US, namely heavy marketing and selling over the Web.

"The US does a lot of Web advertising and Borland has one of the top 50 Web sites by accesses in the US. We're two years behind in the UK and there are still telecommunications and cost issues. We get marketing leads but a lot of the accesses are by students."

Although Borland UK has a fulfilment arrangement that allows users to order from its Web site, Brown said only about one per cent of UK software sales are driven through the Web.

Frontline Now has no connection with UK ditributor Frontline, now Computer 2000.