Apple has dismantled its UK marketing department, leaving the eight-strong division with just a single in-house PR manager.
Apple's UK marketing manager, Martin Capel-Smith, and UK product manager, Neil Thomas, have both been made redundant along with three or four other staff.
As a result, Apple UK's HQ at Stockley Park is little more than a sales operation. Customer support is being moved in phases to Cork, Ireland and advertising has effectively been centrally planned at Apple US since the company's Think Different marketing campaign started two years ago
All Apple commercials, posters and marketing campaigns have all been the same as those created by the company in the US, leaving virtually nothing for UK marketing to create for its own patch.
The UK Apple Store [an online sales operation] is run from Amsterdam, and assembly and manufacture for the European market is carried out in Ireland.
The downgrading of Apple UK means that one of the principal tasks left for the company is managing relationships with its UK reseller channel, which is not going particularly well.
Apart from suffering chronic product shortages of the complete Mac range (apart from the PowerBook G3), dealers were enraged when the company abruptly cancelled next year's Apple Expo, due to be held in March 2000.
The decision to cancel Apple Expo was imposed on Apple UK by Apple US, and it clearly showed how little leeway UK marketing has been allowed in making its own decisions. The about-turn severely damaged Apple UK's standing with the Mac channel.
"In the end most Apple UK staffers realised it was pretty demoralising doing what was essentially a glorified administration job on behalf of Apple US. While it will probably make little immediate difference to UK Mac users, it does indicate how centralised Apple has become," said one former UK employee.
Apple Europe will take over responsibility for the implementation of UK marketing programmes next year.
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