Apple appeared to bypass smaller resellers last week after announcing plans to force its indirect channel to re-apply for accreditation.
Last week, Nigel Boatswain, distribution and indirect sales manager at Apple, called its indirect re-sellers to a meeting where he told them of the revised Ts&Cs, informing them that they would have to re-apply for Apple accreditation.
Revised requirements include a minimum of five staff, a specified minimum of #15,000 per annum turnover on Apple product and enhanced demonstration premises.
But smaller indirect dealerships claimed the vendor was being punitive and that the re-accreditation threatened to cut them out of the Apple loop.
John Lewis, managing director of Oxford reseller Max Response, said the vendor had handled the announcement in an underhand way. 'Apple tried to slip the news into a briefing about the new G3s. The worst thing is that Apple is now going to stop giving the smaller dealers sales leads and effectively cut them out of the loop.'
A representative for Apple insisted the changes were a clarification of an unofficial policy which had been in place for some time.
He claimed that the recent turnaround in Apple's fortunes, along with the introduction of the G3 and iMac, meant that the vendor had to ensure its resellers were providing an adequate sales and support function to the customer.
'If a customer receives bad service from a reseller it reflects badly on the brand. Most of our resellers know that the perception of Apple's brand has changed radically over the past few months and the vast majority of them will make the grade easily,' he said.
Two weeks ago, Apple doubled the number of resellers that can buy direct from the vendor from 27 to about 50, forcing distributors to raise dealer buying prices (PC Dealer, 20 January).
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