I remember sitting on a shuttle about four years ago during a distributor partner conference, talking about the industry with the person sitting next to me. “Intermec will be sold within a year,” he told me, hinting at trouble at the Everett, WA-based company. Regardless of whether or not Intermec was truly in any trouble back then, a sale within the year didn’t happen. But, the conversation did mark the first of many times people hinted to me that Intermec was soon to be sold. Those voices echoed in my head when Intermec announced last June that the company was reducing headcount.
And then rumors really kicked up a notch when Motorola Solutions acquired Psion. That deal had people — myself included — wondering how much consolidation the AIDC space was in for. Fast forward to the recent announcement that Honeywell is set to drop $600 million to acquire Intermec.
This deal and the recent Moto-Psion deal before it might be good things for the companies involved, but to me it looks like data collection integrators have fewer choices and maybe even increased competition as partner programs collide. Additionally, with consolidation — and a lack of competition among the manufacturers — there’s always the possibility that innovation will suffer.
Without fail, companies involved in such acquisitions will make vague statements and toss around phrases like “increased synergies,” claiming that everyone will benefit.
Will Honeywell and Intermec VARs benefit from this latest deal? Will data collection VARs in general benefit from all the consolidation taking place? I think 2013 will be the year we find out.