19 Apr 2012
In the latest sign of a détente between Apple and the channel, it has emerged the vendor has pumped almost a million iPads through European distributors in the last six months.
Apple has traditionally been a retail-only player with notoriously strict limitations on who gets access to its stock. When the iPad was first launched, even its top-level APR partners struggled to get their hands on many of the devices, let alone mainstream IT distributors.
And the logic is not hard to appreciate. Not only does Apple feel it does not need a channel, letting every man and his dog sell its premium kit could dilute its exclusivity, thereby driving down the price punters are willing to pay.
But although Apple has a ready-made route into consumers, only the channel can provide it with reach into a corporate market it is so intent on cracking. Although iPads are now seen as viable devices for the professional, Apple needs help with implementing large bring-your-own device and IT department-led projects.
The revelation that Apple late last year poached HP PSG channel sales boss Trevor Evans to head up its channel was a first clue betraying its change in tack. This perception has only been bolstered by figures showing sales of its products through IT distribution channels in western Europe ticked up 42 per cent year on year in Q1.
According Context, some one million iPad units have travelled through IT distribution in Europe over the past two quarters. The revenue these distributors generated from iPads rose 180 per cent year on year, the analyst added.
"Apple has traditionally been much more of a retail player," said Context co-founder Jeremy Davies.
"These figures show that the company is clearly engaging more with IT channels in an attempt to get increased traction in the prosumer space across Europe."