Mustek and Frontosa on how digital software distribution impacted their businesses


Who's the Boss?
Staff member
May 24, 2010
Online software sales hurting major South African distributors — but all is not lost

Two of South Africa's major ICT distributors say that the increased online availability of software has hurt their sales in the retail market but not yet in the business-to-business (B2B) segment.

In the early years of software releases, individual customers typically bought a physical copy with a product key or licence at a store, which had purchased stock from a local distributor.
Years to alter the course of the business amongst all the technical changes yet we will rely on business buying discs and physical media.....sure
I'm happy to buy the license keys locally if it it cheaper and easier than doing so from e.g. MS directly and as long as it is safe (and I have successfully done so in the past from e.g. loot, hp shop, etc).

Edit: I also think it is possible to buy O365 from e.g. Clicks using e.g. ebucks.

That said ... no physical media involved.
Margin on a margin is rubbish and as it is we pay more for the stuff so why do we wanna do it.

Annoys us so much with local guys and then even the Big end customers they end up getting accounts anyway with the resellers on an agreed 5%
So it doesnt surprise me.

Sounding like Musica and BT Games if you ask me.
LoL just buy keys on this forum then.

Sommer R199 for Windows 11
Odd, they also participate within that business segment. It is only that they have to compete with more sellers not participating within their distribution.
When you have dealt with a licensing department at a major corporate that keeps loosing license keys and asks you again for your Visual Studio license, or Photoshop license etc, then you appreciate the boxes. Because quite honestly all they give you is an email that say you can now install the software (no invoice anything) and then 2 years later they get audited and then you get asked for a license, and say it should be on the register, nope we deleted that. Please repurchase all your licenses.

Yip I prefer the actual box. I tend to cupboard it after I scanned it all into PDF, so when they ask, just email them the pdfs
Frontosa still uses a ordering system that run on DOS. ( or pretty close to DOS). Till 2 years ago or so, they still used dot matrix printer for sales order also.

Attached screenshot of order I placed recently.

They cant complain if they don't even bother upgrading there own systems!


  • Screenshot 2024-02-27 143157.jpg
    Screenshot 2024-02-27 143157.jpg
    44 KB · Views: 6