Sun accused of anti-competitive behaviour

Resellers claim that the manufacturer is trying to shut them out, by refusing to provide them with critical sales information

Computer dealers are taking Sun to the Office of Fair Trading, accusing the company of anti-competitive behaviour.

The Association of Service and Computer Dealers International (ASCDI) made the complaint to the OFT on Monday, claiming that Sun has, since 2006, been denying independent resellers in the UK product-specific information on distribution and historical sales. "Sun's policy effectively closes the secondary market trade in Sun products to anyone other than Sun. It is anti-competitive behaviour, plain and simple," said ASCDI president Joe Marion.

The ASCDI claimed that, in 2006, Sun made it mandatory for resellers to have so-called "provenance information" on the Sun products they sold, yet refused to provide that information to independent resellers. According to the association, this has made it "impossible to know whether a given Sun product is, or has been, placed on the [European] market with Sun's consent".

The association also claimed that repeated attempts to obtain the provenance information from Sun have failed, and pointed out that Sun's major rivals — including IBM, HP and Cisco — "readily" supply such information.

According to the ASCDI, Sun's stance on "trademark protectionism" has forced some independent resellers to switch to selling other computer manufacturers' equipment, while others have "gone out of business" or "been left holding large inventories of Sun equipment they are, or may be, prohibited from selling".

Both Sun and the OFT were unavailable for comment at the time of writing.