Friction Continues Between Some Resellers & Apple Stores

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Friction continues between some of Appleis third party retailers and the brick and mortar Apple Stores, according to a report by TheStreet.com. The financial site reported Thursday on the "love-hate" relationship that exists between Apple and its partners, with examples of stores that have been hurt and helped when an Apple Store moved into their local market.

At issue is the growing percentage of sales Apple is seeing move through its own Apple-branded stores. TheStreet.com noted that retail store sales have grown from 10% of total sales in 2003 to 17% in the first nine months of fiscal 2005.

While the company has seen its overall sales grow at a much faster pace, some retailers see the Apple Stores as taking sales from their own businesses. Honolulu-based Mac Made Easy, for instance, repeated the common complaint that Apple regularly stocks its own stores with product that third party retailers simply canit get.

"Theyire killing us," Mac Made Easy owner Betty Markowsk told TheStreet.com. "They have no loyalty to their resellers. Thatis really too bad because the resellers have stuck with them for so long."

In contrast, Brian Swets of Grand Rapids, Michigan-based CompuCraft said that his companyis pro and business sales have jumped, enough so to counter the fall in consumer traffic that is more attracted to Appleis retail presence.

"I must say that we were worried about it," Mr. Swets said, "but so far our experience has been pretty good."

The full article (four pages) offers substantial detail and balanced cover of the issue.

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