Can Acer Lure Channel Partners Away from HP and Dell?

Acer recently revamped its partner program and launched the new and improved ACE (Acer Channel Excellence) program.  The new program is now in line with others in the industry.  As expected, Acer has created a premier partner tier to cultivate those “elite” partners who do $100,000 or more in business annually. Those partners will receive additional pre and post sales support, have access to a number of tools and training and will be able to register deals.  About 300 U.S. Acer channel partners will qualify for the ACE Program.

According to Greg Prendergast, VP Acer Commercial sales and marketing,

"Much of the feedback we received around response times, more access and engagement with Acer field personnel, end-user deal registration, service, lead management, demo programs, etc. was built directly into the new Acer ACE program components".

But some partners have reservations:

"Why should we sell $100k in Acer product, when we don't have access to the complete product line. I could easily move their products if I had access to all products. Now, my customers come to me and ask for products for their home and small office which New Egg can sell but I can't because I am not,"retail" ".

Other partners have complained about the lack of support and difficulty in getting answers.

It sounds like Acer has a ways to go in building these relationships. The company has recently been focusing on notebooks and Netbooks and is gearing up for the Windows 7 launch in October.   If it wants to seriously challenge the market leaders it must work harder to align its product and channel strategies. It’s all about solutions these days, and partner programs need to have the sophistication to incorporate a wide range of products effectively and resolve channel conflict.  Should HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Dell (NasdaqGS: DELL) be worried about partners defecting? Probably not right now.




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