Apple Computer is tipped to drop European distributors from its channel after cutting three US wholesalers, as the company carries out its promised changes to its sales strategy.
The vendor axed Inacom, Intelligent Electronics, Merisel and Tech Data, leaving Ingram Micro and Microage as authorised wholesalers. One source said only Intelligent Electronics will be hit hard as the other rejects have shipped lower volumes of Macintosh kit in recent months. Others said Tech Data and Merisel will also suffer.
Apple is tipped to slim its European distributor channel in a similar way because it wants to give more resellers authorisation to buy directly and sell more build-to-order hardware - a strategy recently endorsed by interim CEO Steve Jobs as part of his plan to help Apple recover from financial trouble.
Analysts said Apple should cut inventory levels and speed up shipments if it can forecast demand more accurately using two US distributors. The changes will apply from 1 December and Ingram Micro and Microage will get exclusive service in return for more investment to make Apple-related sales.
Last month, Jobs said he wants to use fewer resellers and distributors but those partners must be more committed to selling Macintosh platform products.
Apple is also set to launch Power PC 750-based desktop systems next week with 233MHz and 266MHz chips, as reported here yesterday. The computers will also feature a 66MHz system bus.
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