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Apple And Sears Divorce Again (Updated)

Apple And Sears Divorce Again (Updated)

by , 10:00 AM EST, March 16th, 2001

C|Net is reporting that Apple will be pulling out of Sears. The move comes as stories about Apple opening up their own branded brick and mortar stores continue to gain momentum. According to the C|Net report:

"Apple and Sears have mutually decided to part ways and will be unwinding their relationship during the remainder of this year," Sears Roebuck spokesman Tom Nicholson said Thursday. Nicholson declined to elaborate.

The move comes as Apple is changing its retail strategy, which includes plans to open its own line of stores.

An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.

In a January meeting with analysts, Apple Senior Vice President Tim Cook hinted that the company might sever ties with some retailers.

"We'll cut some channel partners that may not be providing the buying experience" Apple wants, Cook said at the time. "We're not happy with everybody."

Apple has pulled out of Sears once before, shortly after Steve Jobs returned to the company and dumped all of Apple's retail channel partners. Sears was reinstated in 1999. Apple also returned to CompUSA and Best Buy, but Best Buy was also cut again after the retail giant refused to carry more than one color of iMac when the 5 fruity models were first introduced. CompUSA's store-within-a-store remains Apple's strongest retail presence outside of the thousands of Apple VARs around the country.

When visiting Sears.com, we found out that the AirPort Base Station, the Indigo 366 MHz iBook, and the iBook Special Edition were still available for online purchase.

The Mac Observer Spin:

Apple seems intent on limiting its retail channel partners to stores capable of giving a good Macintosh experience to their customers. Best Buy and Sears found this difficult to do (meaning Best Buy is staffed by Mac-hating pimply PC weenie brats, and Sears didn't have many Mac users on staff either), but these chain stores do attract first-time buyers. If Apple opens up their own stores, is the company capable of doing this by itself?

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