Local iPod gizmo vendor scores US distribution

Local iPod gizmo vendor scores US distribution

Successful local player looks to break onto the international stage

Melbourne-based iPod accessories vendor, Gecko Gear, has scored a deal in the US which will see its range distributed to 5000 Radio Shack outlets.

It's the latest in a series of deals which has seen the two-year old business, started by former Apple reseller employee, Michael Roe, cash in on the phenomenal success of Apple's digital music player.

Gecko Gear designs and sells branded protective gloves, armband pouches, bags and chargers for the iPod under Apple's Made for iPod licensing program. Locally, the company had exceeded its sales expectations in mass merchant stores such as David Jones, Harvey Norman and Myer, Roe said.

He attributed much of this success to the company's Australian distributor, Powermove.

An Apple aficionado for nine years, Roe met with several contacts at the latest MacWorld conference to line up the new deal with Radio Shack. He said the US deal dwarfed anything the company has ever done locally.

"We thought dealing with the big mass merchants here was a big move," he said. "But it's not very big when you compare it to the US market."

Gecko Gear competes with a mass of iPod accessory manufacturers - from Apple's high-end partners such as Belkin, to manufacturers of cheap, unlicensed alternatives.

"It's tough to keep ahead," Roe said. "You just have to be quick - we try and second guess what Apple will come out with next and make sure we're the first to get our hands on the products. We also make sure we are always getting feedback from our dealers. We often add features or value to a product based on their recommendation."

Roe said the company was not tied exclusively to the Apple product and wouldn't hesitate to work with other manufacturers, but only if their products ever entered the ball park in terms of market share.

"We think the iPod is unique," he said. "We can't see anything in the short term that will have an impact on Apple's market share."

"We don't see [Microsoft's] Zune, for example, as a hot product."

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