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The sun was just starting to smudge its magical blue into orange into crimson that only happens through a Jo’burg winter day’s worth of carbon emissions when our conversation was rudely interrupted … the beer bottles clanged as Cafe Georgie slammed the latest round on the table. 

He glared, non-threatingly. Then retreated to the warmth of the pizza oven in the back.
Hardware Mike grasped the neck of his bottle and moved it closer to his glass; Kodak Geoff mirrored him. Zed Leppelin simply upended the dregs of his spook ’n diesel into his new one. I sipped.
“As I was saying … I can’t believe the rumours flying round the channel at the moment,” I said. “One minute Pinnacle’s buying everyone, the next minute it’s Sahara buying everyone … then Mustek … Now I hear that Ingram Micro’s going to buy everyone.”
Zed flinched and spat an ice cube back into his glass. “What?” he carried through. “Nee, man, but they’re the ones that are causing all the rumours.”
“‘Strue,” chirped Hardware Mike, topping up his glass. “Everything was hunky-dory, going along fine, everyone having record months, record quarters, and then they announce they’re coming in on a joint venture with MB Tech and the channel goes mal. But they say they’re only doing components …”
“Bollocks!” smirked Kodak Geoff. “Anyone go to the official launch? Was there an Ingram SA launch? Anyone seen their product set – the components they say they’re going to be selling?”
I nodded in agreement. “Must admit, no …”
The smirk eased into an arrogant grin – the face of a man that knows something no-one else does. “Anyone heard of ChannelWare?” he raised eyebrows at each of us in turn. “Well, that’s the new Storgate. And they’re signing up brand distributions left, right and centre.”
“Oy!” I bristled. “That’s a bit too close to Channelwise for my liking. Bad enough that Trish’s mate Thierry thought I’d worked for IBM after that pic in the anniversary issue. Now people might think I’m a disti! Even worse, that they’re a channel rag!”
Kodak Geoff shrugged, man-in-the-middle-like. “Maybe you should sue for passing-off. I hear there’s a couple of boys looking at that … but I’d hate to start a rumour …
“I digress, though. And, again, I’d hate to be the one to start a rumour … but how come Channelware is signing up all these agencies when Storgate couldn’t? Is there something we’re not supposed to know?”
Zed frowned. “So then the rest of the distis aren’t really that mal?” he asked. “Maybe they’re right to get together and merge or acquire or whatever?” he asked.
“Probably,” I said. “It was Intel’s Andy Grove that once said only the paranoid survive in this industry. Maybe he was right.
But it still doesn’t justify the rumours that are going around in the channel. I know there are a lot of NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) flying about, but some of the rumours are simply ludicrous.
“Maybe the guys should be concentrating on their core business, making it better, and getting on with it instead of worrying about a perceived threat. And maybe they should stop spreading stupid rumours about each other.”
Cafe Georgie had obviously left the comfort of the coals in the oven and descended on our table as the word “rumours” left my lips.
And, as a coffee-shop veteran, it was obviously a word he was familiar with.
“Rhumouoor! Ah geeveya good rhumouoor … rhumouoor hazzit thafurwunz youz gonna paydagoddambill!”
We guiltily glanced at each other. Then we left.