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3Com Slashes Top Partner Ranks In Half

3Com has dramatically raised the volume requirements of its Focus Partner Program in a strategy shift that blindsided many of its top solution providers, some of whom say they now are looking for alternate vendor partnerships.

Effective Sept. 1, 3Com's annual sales volume requirement for Gold partners ballooned to $1 million, up from $250,000. 3Com also boosted the volume requirement for its Silver partners to $250,000, up from $100,000. Bronze partners continue to have no volume requirement.

In the United States, the new volume requirements halved the ranks of the program's top tiers to 70 Gold and 100 Silver partners.

Of even more concern to some partners are the changes in warranty and maintenance services. In some cases, partners will have to tack on 3Com's Express hardware replacement services in order to get next-day replacements, previously available for free to Gold partners.

"It's unfortunate that a [company like] 3Com can't be loyal to the people who are loyal to them," said John Graven, COO of Computer Telephony Concepts, a 3Com IP telephony partner in Mentor, Ohio.

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