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Ideal Hardware, the UK’s leading storage distributor, today announced a major telemarketing project commissioned by Sony for UniTel, Ideal’s telemarketing services arm.

UniTel’s suite of telemarketing services are designed to assist Ideal’s vendor and reseller base build and manage their new business pipelines. The project with Sony focuses on their Magneto Optical (MO) product line. Sony’s MO technology is a fast and reliable data storage device that excels in handling vast amounts of data efficiently and has become the choice of the digital generation. It is capable of storing 9.1 GB of data and is suitable for PCs, workstations and servers requiring the backup and transfer of multiple gigabytes of data.

The current MO project by UniTel is focused around a lead generation model. “The MO market is very specialist and the product set unique – as such, an innovative and high-level approach to its sales process is essential,” says Alex Koeppen, UniTel’s departmental manager. “Sony tasked us with developing and managing their complete MO pre-sales pipeline. Having fulfilled much of the background work in locating the perfect prospect base we are now in the process of developing these lead opportunities. Once qualified appropriately UniTel ensures that each ‘hot prospect’ is passed to Sony for conversion into sale.

“The unique offering of UniTel for fulfilment of pre-sales activities, is the expertise within telemarketing complemented by the technical knowledge for which all Ideal Hardware sales and service divisions are renowned. With this project we are able to understand not only the product and sales process, but are able to determine its potential market very accurately,” continues Alex.

“We have used another telemarketing agency in the past,” said Charles Hacker, product marketing specialist for Sony. “However, for this project we chose UniTel. We were introduced to UniTel through our Ideal product manager and we were impressed with their service offering – their knowledge of the industry and of our product. We wanted a premier service with personal interaction giving us regular and comprehensive progress updates. UniTel are able to provide this one-to-one service; I know I can pick up the phone at any time and speak to our project manager.

“The MO is a specialised product so generating a database from which to base the telemarketing campaign is not always an easy task. We were extremely pleased with the quality and split of their target list. The prospects they have given to us are highly desirable. We have every confidence this will be a highly successful campaign.

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For further information please contact:

Grace Beesley
Ideal Hardware
020 8286 5000
gbeesley@ideal.co.uk

Sharon Smith
Ideal Press Office
020 7375 3633
ssmith@metro-media.co.uk


Editor’s Notes:

Ideal Hardware Limited - http://www.ideal.co.uk - the wholly owned subsidiary of US based Bell Microproducts Inc., is a leading UK based value-added, storage-centric distributor focusing on the high end of the storage market. Ideal is also a leading distributor of Compaq servers, PCs and storage products and is one of only 12 Compaq distributors worldwide to be awarded the prestigious CIP accreditation for high-end products. Ideal has strategic relationships with approximately 80 suppliers of Enterprise storage, computer systems, software and media products. These strategic products are packaged with Ideal’s value-added programmes and services to provide complete NAS, SAS and SAN solutions.

Bell Microproducts Inc is an international value-added provider of a wide range of high technology products, solutions, and services to the industrial and commercial marketplace. The company's offering includes semiconductors, computer platforms, peripherals, and storage products of various types including desktop, high-end computer and storage subsystems, fibre channel connectivity products, RAID, NAS and SAN storage systems and back-up products. Bell Microproducts is an industry-recognized specialist in storage products and is one of the world's largest storage-centric value-added distributors. The company's products are available at any level of integration from components, to subsystem assemblies, to fully integrated, tested and certified system solutions. The company adds value with a broad range of services including testing, software loading, kitting, mass storage system integration, and computer system integration. Trained and certified technical personnel complete each of these processes at Bell Microproducts' ISO 9002 facilities. Bell Microproducts markets and distributes more than 150 brand name product lines, as well as its own BellStor storage and Trademark(R) computer brands, to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), contract electronic manufacturing services (EMS) customers, value-added resellers (VARs) and system integrators in the Americas and Europe. More information can be found in SEC filings, or by visiting the Bell Microproducts Web site at http://www.bellmicro.com

Note: This release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's current views of future events and financial performance, involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results or facts to differ materially from such statements for a variety of reasons including, but not limited to: the ability to successfully integrate the operations of recent acquisitions, industry conditions, changes in product supply, pricing, and customer demand, competition, other vagaries in the computer and electronic components markets, changes in relationships with key suppliers, foreign currency fluctuations and the other risks and information described from time to time in the company's reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (including the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and Current Reports on Form 8-K regarding this and other transactions). Investors should take such risks into account when making investment decisions. Shareholders and other readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. The company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements.

Sony Core Technology & Network Company Europe (CNCE) with headquarters in Weybridge, UK, markets optical and magnetic storage solutions and recording media, visual solutions and semiconductors and components. The sales channel includes OEMs and system integrators as well as distributors, corporate resellers and retailers. Sony is the originator or co-developer of a range of digital storage standards, including the 3.5-inch floppy disc, the audio CD, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, DVD, MO, DDS (digital data storage) tape and AIT (advanced intelligent tape). The company's long expertise with visual technologies has enabled Sony CNCE to add notebook cameras and fingerprint identification devices for IT security to its range of products.


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