NetBuy Is Banking on Smaller Players

Jonathan Gaw covers technology and electronic commerce for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7818 and at

Last week's $630-million acquisition of Marshall Industries by Avnet Inc. was the largest in the electronic components distribution industry and highlighted the growing emphasis on size in that business, but Laguna Hills-based NetBuy hopes to deliver customers to the smaller players in the market.

The company, which celebrated its one-year anniversary last week, is one of dozens of electronic commerce sites cultivating business-to-business markets, bringing together more than 60 distributors to sell to electronics manufacturers.

The company said $1.2 million in semiconductors, connectors and other electronic components have been sold over its network. The company collects a transaction fee on those sales.

While Avnet and industry leader Arrow Electronics concentrate on large customers, smaller players have room to cater to the small- and medium-sized market, said James D. Wittry, NetBuy's chief executive.

"Avnet and Arrow have migrated to the upper tier," Wittry said. "They process small and medium orders very cost-inefficiently."

Of course, NetBuy has some of its own wrinkles to work out. On the same day that the company celebrated its first anniversary, NetBuy suffered a computer glitch that knocked it offline for nearly an hour.

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