|[8:00 AM] Canadian Mac Reseller Cries "Foul," Sues Apple
Computer Buyer Warehouse Direct (CBWD) has filed a CDN$5 million dollar lawsuit against Apple Canada, Inc. CBWD claims that Apple had approved a catalog layout and selling arrangements with CBWD, only to revoke their license as an authorized reseller after the catalog made it's debut. According to CBWD:
The suit claims that Apple terminated their authorized dealer agreement with CBWD after the dealer published its first Mac catalog in May, 1999. Although CBWD's 100-page catalog had previously received approval from Apple Canada, CBWD maintains that they were prohibited by Apple from advertising pricing for any Apple products within the catalog or from shipping Apple systems outside an approximate 200 KM radius of their Markham, Ontario location.
The suit further claims that shortly after publication of the catalog, Apple Canada knowingly set up an out-of-territory sale in order to induce the dealer to breach Apple's official Business Practices guidelines. Apple then used that breach to terminate its 5-year relationship with CBWD.
According to CBWD President Lorne Cherry, "We have asked the courts to rule on what appears to be a very anti-competitive environment - a monopoly that leaves Canadian customers with only a single authorized Mac catalog choice - MacWarehouse. Our customers wonder why we can sell them a printer, scanner, and monitor but not an Apple system, if they wish to order from our catalog. Yet our major competitor, MacWarehouse, can sell and ship Macs by catalog anywhere in Canada - it's just not fair".
Cherry contends that CBWD has tried to negotiate with Apple Canada for over two years but "Apple Canada still won't even let us apply for authorized catalog status." " We thus fear that if Apple continues to support just one national catalog reseller then many of its regional dealers will go out of business, creating even less competition in Canada and forcing end users to pay higher prices. Something must be done so that all Canadian dealers are able to compete on a level playing field".
You can find more information at the Computer Buyers Warehouse Direct web site.
Apple's policy is to not talk about impending law suits.
The Mac Observer Spin: This is an interesting situation. It would be fun to speculate based on this press release, but we are going to try and dig up other facts on this instead. We ask any Observers with any knowledge on this to let us know.
Computer Buyers Warehouse Direct