The most famous computer ad that never ran was created for Data General. As told in Tracy Kidder’s The Soul of a New Machine (still a great story of the inside of a major product development cycle) after IBM announced the Series/1, a 16-bit minicomputer designed to compete with DEC’s PDP-11 and the DG Nova, DG marketing came up with a rough draft of a 2-page ad:

They Say IBM’s Entry Into Minicomputers Will Legitimize The Market.

The Bastards Say, Welcome.

EqualLogic resellers should say welcome, too.

Is Dell sincere about the keeping the channel strong?
The life of a reseller is rarely easy. If you are too successful, the vendor may decide to serve your market directly. If you aren’t successful enough the vendor may cut you off.

Dell’s press release stresses the importance of EqualLogic’s channel to Dell. I think Michael Dell is sincere. He’s got bad judgement in picking Presidents – Rollins and Bush – but very good judgement when it comes to dead Presidents.

Michael Dell sincerely, with all his heart, wants to be richer. He also wants to stick it to Steve Jobs in the worst way. He knows that the direct sales model he pioneered won’t do it.

EqualLogic as an independent Dell brand?
As I read the press release, yes. And that is another smart move. Rollins polluted the Dell brand with crummy support. Good resellers help turn that perception around.

I was talking to the IT director of a 300-person company a few weeks ago. He is also the company’s only IT employee. He hires consultants for everything he doesn’t do himself. A long time techie, he knows what he wants.

Telephone support doesn’t work for that guy. He’s got a business to run and results to deliver. He’s more interested in sleeping well than in shaving every nickel off his costs. That’s where resellers get margins, if they’re good.

The StorageMojo take
Dell did more than legitimize the surviving crop of dot bomb era storage startups. He legitimized EqualLogic, too. EqualLogic resellers should start getting a lot more calls from people had heard of them but were too nervous to deal with a startup.

If you are still a nervous EqualLogic reseller, there are other vendors out there who are hungry and offer good products. Life could be worse.

Comments please, especially from EqualLogic resellers. Or EqualLogic competitors.