Apple continues to tempt resellers

Apple continues to tempt resellers

The Buzzle saga is still being played out in the courts, but for the rest of Apple's dealers, the collapse of the conglomerate is opening up new opportunities to stamp their mark on one of the most conspicuous brands in IT.

The mess that was left by Buzzle seems no closer to being finalised. Last month, Apple took liquidator Andrew Wily to the Supreme Court of New South Wales over access to documents regarding the failed reseller group. Armstrong Wily & Co's investigations into the failure of the group are likely to take months to complete.

Despite the collapse, resellers are still willing to take a bite of the Apple. MacCentric last week opened its doors in the heart of Sydney's Chatswood. The Apple Centre plugs a gaping hole in Apple's coverage, which has been noticeable since Buzzle's collapse forced the sale of Mac's Place. That store was bought by Next Byte, which subsequently closed it down, presumably to channel business to its operation in Pymble, also on Sydney's North Shore.

MacCentric's new store is in the midst of one of the largest commercial areas in Sydney. Managing director Henrik Kocharians said the geographical position was one of the main concerns when setting up the new business.

"We really wanted to be in this position -- right in the heart of things," he said. "Chatswood is the hub of the North Shore, but it is also very central to other parts of Sydney."

The store is the second of Apple's new concept stores, designed to take the Apple brand to the mainstream PC market. Apple subsidised a portion of the cost of the revamp, but most of the funding and hard work came from the reseller. Miraculously, the refurbishment was completely in just six and a half days.

Kocharians has more than 25 years experience in IT, thirteen of which have been with Apple. "I left the company a year ago, but it is a bit like the guy who liked the product so much he bought the company. I couldn't afford to buy Apple so this is the next best thing."

He said he is not worried by Apple's US strategy to open its own direct stores. "I would think it would be good because it exposes the products and the technology to more people. But I don't think Apple Australia really have the infrastructure to do that. I see resellers as an extension of Apple's sales team."

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