Apple resellers cry foul over NCR deal

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Apple resellers are up in arms over the vendor’s decision to appoint NCR as a national services provider, claiming they will lose business as a result.

Apple resellers are up in arms over the vendor's decision to appoint NCR as a national services provider, claiming they will lose business as a result.

In a letter sent to Apple resellers and sighted by CRN, Apple Computer Australia's channel manager Kevin McElduff, said the vendor would 'allocate a substantial portion of our professional services on-site warranty business to NCR'.

The move would affect mainly regional resellers that are providing services for Education department (DET) contracts in Victoria, NSW, QLD and WA.

'Transition activities will begin immediately, with services going live in selected areas across the country in approximately three months. We expect that within 12 months NCR will service all the above customers' onsite warranty needs,' he said in an email to the Apple channel.

Joe Knagge, the proprietor of Dubbo-based Apple authorised service provider KNet Technology, claimed 80 percent of his Apple-related sales revenue comes from warranty contracts with DET. Knagge spends $10,000 per year on training two engineers to provide these services.

'It seriously affects my business. We're an approved service centre and reseller -- up to 80 percent of my Apple revenues could be affected. It's just another multinational taking over small business,' he said.

Adam Steinhardt, director at Apple reseller NextByte, said he was 'also bitterly disappointed' by Apple's decision to appoint NCR.

'They went and decided to award some lucrative contracts to NCR that were being serviced by regional people,' he said. 'We're equally pissed off.'

NextByte has three to four staff in Sydney alone that work on these contracts, as well as a fleet of vehicles that would have to be redeployed in other areas, he said.

'They want better geographic coverage -- that reason doesn't fit. We're not overly impressed by the whole thing.'

Steinhardt added: 'It's taking people's business away -- I can certainly sympathise with [people] in Dubbo.'

Vince Cohen, the proprietor of accredited Apple reseller Northern Technical Services in Armidale, said 80 percent of his business is in Apple products and services, of which a big slice is services and warranty work.

'I'm not happy about it,' he said. 'It's a major part of our business [schools].' Cohen has attempted to contact Apple executives over the matter but hadn't heard anything back from the vendor. The reseller services public and high schools in the Armidale area. His second store in Lismore, NSW also services Southern Cross University, he said.

Another regional Apple reseller, who declined to be named, said 30 percent of his total revenue was in DET contracts. 'The biggest problem for me is that we've all worked hard to set up relationships [with] Department of Education schools. What message does this send to those [schools] when they appoint a third-party [NCR] to do the work?'

As a result, the reseller is attempting to strike a sub-contracting deal with NCR. He said he would 'rather do the work through NCR than make nothing'.

Apple Computer Australia declined to comment further on its decision, with a company spokesperson saying it was not prepared to comment on the go-to-market strategy with NCR.

Instead, it issued a statement which read: 'Apple Australia is committed to providing all of its customers with the highest level of service. To that end, Apple Australia has entered into a national service provider agreement with NCR. NCR will provide on-site service for certain Australian government, education and enterprise customers who have stringent response-time service level agreements.



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