G5 Fever Hits Australia, Amid Reseller Rivalry

Australians are already keen to pre-order the new G5-based Macs, but a report by industry news site ARNnet reveals that reseller squabbles and delayed deliveries may be cause for concern.

Appleis sales in Australia can be defined in three broad categories - the online Apple Store, the various AppleCentre retail stores, and the iassociate reselleri channel. According to ARNnetis report, the announcement of the G5 saw associate resellers offering pre-orders for the G5 at cost price.

"It is very disappointing that within 24 hours of such a major announcement, associate resellers were advertising that customers could pre-order at cost price," Apple Centre Taylor Square director, Ben Morgan, said. "Why would you do that unless you are trying to buy customers?

"These fly by the minute, box-hocking companies are continuing a fine tradition of mass discounting to the customer with immediate deferral of all support. All they want to do is move product and at the first sign of trouble it will be deflected to someone else."

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Apple marketing manager, Arno Lenior, confirmed the vendor would not enter into pricing discussions with resellers but defended the role of associate resellers."Our associate reseller program gives us geographical distribution in areas where we have no coverage and also takes us into particular vertical market segments," he said. "It is a very important part of the Apple distribution model and wonit go away anytime soon."

Additionally, while Apple predicts that the G5s will be available in August, Morgan believes that there will be a wait of up to three months for the new machines, claiming that "Australia is only one per cent of the international market and we will get machines delivered accordingly." The article also speaks encouragingly of the demand for the G5s, revealing that pre-orders have been strong and that the price cuts on the older PowerMacs have gained significant interest.

This weekis complaints about pricing come hot on the heels of earlier woes with regard to the online Apple Store, with resellers saying that the Apple Storeis forays into third-party products and general issues of pricing. A report last month, also from ARNnet, details the concerns:

Several resellers contacted by ARN said they had noticed a significant increase in the number of third-party products carried by Apple Store. One claimed the number had doubled during the past year.

Apple refused to supply figures detailing the growth in products offered by Apple Store during the past year but said any expansion was only in line with other parts of its business.

"Apple shouldnit be competing directly because it makes the dealer channel weaker," Next Byte director Adam Steinhardt, said. "They talk about resellers adding value but the margin on software is important to us and it is being eradicated."

You can read more on the AppleCentre-versus-reseller and the online store-versus-reseller issues at ARNnetis Web site.