3Com next to drop Dell as reseller

3Com Corp. terminated a long-standing agreement that allowed Dell Computer Corp. to sell 3Com networking gear, becoming the third supplier since July to cancel a reseller agreement with Dell as the PC maker ventures into new markets.

"Dell has made it clear that it aspires to gain market share in networking, and 3Com won't help Dell legitimize its sales offering with 3Com's products or 3Com's channel program benefits," Catriona Parker, a 3Com spokeswoman, said Monday. Dell was notified on Wednesday and has to stop selling 3Com products as soon as possible, she said.

3Com's announcement follows that of network hardware giant Cisco Corp., which said last week it would drop Dell as a reseller from Sept. 27. Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) recently stopped supplying Dell with printers. Dell has started selling its own networking switches and has indicated that it may sell printers under its own brand. The Austin, Texas, company is also expected to introduce Dell-branded PDAs (personal digital assistants).

"We have been a single source for our customers and we have provided 3Com and Cisco products. We will continue to work with our customers to provide them what they need," John Coulston, a Dell spokesman in Europe said.

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