Apple Sued By Growing Number Of Mac Retailers

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The San Francisco Chronicleis Henry Norr, a longtime Mac writer, is reporting that Apple is being sued by a growing number of Mac retailers. San Francisco area retailer Macadam, Mac Tech Systems of Bend, OR, Computer International of Los Angeles, have all filed suit against Apple, and even Cupertino, CA based retailing veteran Elite Computers & Software is planning to file suit, according to the SF Chronicle.

The source of the suits is what the retailers consider to be unfair competition from Appleis own retail Apple Store, and the retailers are alleging that Apple is giving numerous advantages to its own stores. There are also complaints of other problems in the way Apple treats its resellers. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Tensions between Apple and its resellers are nothing new, and similar problems have frequently arisen in relations between other computer manufacturers and their dealers.

But the slump that has plagued the entire industry for more than two years, combined with Appleis move toward a distribution system less dependent on independent dealerships, has apparently heated the conflict to the boiling point.

"Theyive just been cheating us for years, making us look bad and screwing our customers," said Santos, 47, who has operated Macadam for 14 years and last year recorded sales of more than $6 million. "Iive got six big binders full of horror stories, all carefully documented.

[...]

What angers him the most, Santos said, is that Appleis own sales representatives, when talking to customers, regularly disparage the competence and even the integrity of independent dealers, including dealers like him who have a long record of success and have been certified by Apple to service as well as sell its products.

Kohler, who is getting out of Mac sales and service after 12 years, agreed. "Our clients regularly report that when they talk to Apple, theyire told theyid be better off going through the company" rather than a dealer like him, he said.

The disparagement issue that Santos and Kohler raise underlies several parts of Santosi lawsuit, including charges of unfair competition, trade libel and "intentional interference with economic relationship."

According to Mr. Norr, Apple declined to comment for the article. There is a lot more information in the full article.

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