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May 10th, 2000

[2:00 PM] Can One Man Alone Support Apple In South Africa?
by Bill Troop

This is the question raised by one of the oddest pieces of Apple news to hit the web this week. Africa News Online and IT Web report that Apple South Africa is about to lose 90% of its staff -- going from six employees to one. South Africa's Apple community is reportedly unhappy that Apple is now outsourcing all support, and the remaining employee will be responsible just for marketing. The area that remaining employee will be responsible for is huge: all South Africa and the entire area up to sub-Saharan Africa.

Because the downsizing is so drastic, Apple customers and resellers in South Africa are reportedly worried that 1986 is repeating itself. In 1986, for political reasons, Apple pulled out of South Africa completely, and did not reopen an office in South Africa until 1994. However, there seems to be nothing in the current political situation in South Africa to warrant sanctions from Apple. Thus, although this move is a drastic downsizing, it is not an elimination. And Apple is reportedly not actually decreasing services so much as restructuring them and outsourcing to the greatest extent possible.

Neither Apple nor Apple South Africa had comment at press time.

The Mac Observer Spin: Our take is that Apple may want to move quickly to reassure its South African customers that it remains committed to them. Only one employee to serve such a large area would cause any customer base concern. And as with any curious news story, there's probably more to it than meets the eye. But Apple is reportedly trying to reassign all of its axed Apple South Africa employees to other areas, which effectively prevents them from discussing the matter with the press.

Apple South Africa

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