Next Byte’s a corporate Apple

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Apple reseller NextByte is pushing into the corporate space, preparing to announce several deals with major ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software vendors in coming months.

Adam Steinhardt, managing director at NextByte, said that the South Australian company formed NextByte Enterprise Technology, an ERP-focused arm to target corporates, in May and was seeking to sign platform-independent ERP vendors within the next couple of months.

“We aim to push more into the enterprise space,” Steinhardt said. “We are now evaluating which suppliers we will align ourselves with...We see top opportunities to lead with Macs...with an Apple solution for the enterprise.”

NextByte Enterprise Technology will start in NSW but target customers in all Australian states, as required.

While Steinhardt wouldn't reveal how many staff would initially be devoted to the new arm, he added that several staff were likely be promoted to that department. “We have a clear [national] network--we can pull people in from anywhere,” he said. “This will be a natural extension of what some of our staff already do with our suppliers.”

Asked whether Apple desktops were ever likely to seriously challenge the PC in the business and corporate space, Steinhardt said that anything was possible. “Mac is a fantastic smaller business computer-- cheap to run, easy to get up, and most people run them for over three or four years rather than [getting new ones] every 18 months,” he said. “That's what's really exciting about this business--things can and do change.”

Steinhardt, a self-confessed 'Mac evangelist', pointed out that newer Apples, such as the PowerMac G5, had recently been rated in some conditions as “the fastest computer in the world”. Further, the price point on Apple gear was continuing to drop, for example with G4s recently coming down to $1999.

However, he emphasised that it was the job of the reseller to maintain adequate margins. NextByte had no intention of lowering prices to an unsustainable level or trying to compete with, say, online resellers, purely on price, Steinhardt said.

“Some people [now] have an unrealistic expectation of dollar value, and if the supplier can't perform the way they're supposed to, it all comes back to us. People want to do too much with less,” he said.

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