Arm-twisting: Why suffer in silence?

DQW Bureau
New Update


In the initial days of my starting work in Cybermedia, I was sometimes amazed

at how much lack of communication there was between the vendors and the channel

partners. At one after the other IT Panchayat or in a meeting with any channel

partner I would only hear complaints about the treatment that was being meted

out by certain vendors to the channel partners.

Then after a while the din subsided and there was a scenario in which truce

was called between both. However, the daggers are out in full force these days.

Blame it on the market scenario or the current economic situation; things are

going from bad to worse across the country.

Most complaints are directed at three biggest vendors in the country and

hardware and software giants whose policies are not considered very partner



I, personally, know of so many complaints against these vendors. Only last

week a partner was telling me about a partner in Jaipur who has almost Rs 14

lakh payments pending with one of these three. A similar instance was reported

in Bhubaneswar where while the amount was Rs 2 lakhs it has been pending for

more than a year and a half.

Shivangi Yadav

Now these are not big amounts for a vendor who is the world leader, but for

the partner concerned it makes a huge difference to his bottomline especially

when the times are bad. Also news has emerged in North India where the same

vendor is said to have formed a cartel and imposed working rules on the channel



The other instance is how this software major is clearly indulging in what

partners think is arm-twisting. While partners in South India have raised a hue

and cry about the whole issue, there are others who are speaking about it also

but in hushed tones. Then there is this one partner who, in a typical David

versus Goliath situation, has done what would have been unthinkable in normal

circumstances, taken a vendor to court. The owner of the company alleges that

the software vendor has been filing false cases against partners who do not fall

in line; the vendor on the other hand claims that it is protecting its IPR.

While it is left to the court to decide which way this battle goes, what will

be interesting to note is how long the partner is able to sustain the might of

the vendor which has at its disposal a team of lawyers and unlimited resources.

But what really amazes me is that this is a one-off case. Ideally speaking

there should have been a barrage of cases, and public hue and cry about it, but

is it there? Actually no, most partners are unwilling to even discuss their

problems. If they do, mostly it is off the record for fear of repercussions. And

what is more astounding is that they still keep on doing business with the

vendor on the terms and conditions that are laid by the latter.


So why is it that while some will come out in the open and discuss their

issues, others will not-lack of unity, a support system that will back you up

are the two things that come to mind. So it brings me back to what I have been

saying in the column and even offline to many association presidents and even

influential channel partners-unite. If you want to tide over the hard times,

unity is what will take you place, and make you stay afloat.

(Write in your comments to me at