Apple to Try Again With Circuit City

Certain Circuit City stores will begin selling Macs next week as part of a new pilot program between the retailer and Apple. AppleInsider quoted Circuit City spokesman Jim Babb as saying: "This is a pilot program thatis just getting underway and we will evaluate how it is doing over the next several months." The retailer is expected to carry Mac software and accessories in addition to hardware.

The Web site also reported that Circuit City employees traveled to Appleis California headquarters last week to receive training in selling Macs. "The goal of the program was train Circuit City reps to effectively market the Mac and its strong points, rather than lure prospective buyers towards their own familiarities in the Windows PC aisle," said AppleInsider.

The second-largest consumer electronics retailer in the U.S., Circuit City teamed up with Apple in 2000 to sell iMacs, iBooks and AirPort Base Stations, only to see the joint venture end when Apple began opening its own stores the following year. AppleInsider said that Apple "is reportedly considering a move that would pull ASCs [Apple Solution Consultants] from CompUSA boutiques -- a deteriorating model -- and reassign them to trendy Circuit City posts. Insiders say the Mac makeris relationship with CompUSA has been waning with each new Apple retail store it launches."

Best Buy confirmed in June that it had started a similar pilot program with Apple, which acknowledged during its July earnings call that the program was in place and the company was evaluating the results. The company has said nothing else about it since then, and there has been no indication that Best Buy has expanded the program.