Dealers are cautiously hoping that Apple?s new Powerbook range may help boost flagging sales and consumer confidence in the company.
Much is staked on the new range, according to outgoing executive vice president Marco Landi. Landi, who resigned last week, said the Powerbooks ?are crucial for the credibility of the company?.
Over the past two weeks Apple has seen the resignation of seven high-level executives, including former chief technology officer Ellen Hancock, and CEO Gil Amelio has announced plans to cut overheads by $400 million.
Speculation was rife that the company was the subject of a takeover bid by IBM, that it planned to axe 40 per cent of its workforce, and even that it planned to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
But the dealer channel was unusually positive about the new high-end multimedia notebooks, that are cheap enough to compete with the Mac clones.
Kashif Merchant, sales manager of Micro Anvika, said there had been a lot of interest from customers. ?I hope that this could turn their fortunes around. The pricing is very aggressive, and I think at this stage that?s the best approach to take.?
Maneesh Patel, executive director of South London dealer Mygate, agreed that for the first time the Mac had ?a competitive advantage? over the clones. In recent months, clones have accounted for up to a third of Mac-style computers.
The success of the Powerbook is crucial because its sales are expected to account for one-fifth of Apple?s revenue this year.
Much of the decline in Apple sales last year was attributed to inventory problems, inadequate distribution, and faults in the Powerbook 5300 range, now discontinued.
- Last week the California Public Employees Pension System (Calpers) named Apple as the worst financial under-performer in its annual corporate governance list of 1,500 domestic companies.
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