Apple University Consortium, Apple Computer's central vehicle of success in the higher education market, has three new members: Newcastle University, Victoria University of Technology and another signed but as-yet unnamed institution.
Apple has traditionally considered the network of 27 universities as its reseller channel into the higher education market. However, recent changes to the consortium's membership model have seen Apple become less insistent of universities becoming resellers and agreeing to them appointing independent dealers to sell on campus.
Peter Sharp, University of Melbourne manager of computer supplies, said the main reason Apple is enjoying success is the shift in focus to universities as customers first, then as resellers, whereas other vendors still see universities as resellers, then customers.
Sharp said other vendors such as Compaq and Acer have a presence in this market but none to the level or strength of Apple.
He revealed the University of Melbourne spends upwards of $10 million a year on IT products of which 30 per cent is spent on the Apple platform.
Warren Bruce, Apple's channel manager, claims the company sells 35 per cent of all PCs in higher education and around 8 to 10 per cent of notebooks.
However, Sharp hopes Apple will increase its efforts in the kindergarten to Year 12 market as he has noticed under- graduate students are not familiar with the platform. This contrasts with Wintel vendors like Acer, who Sharp said are stronger in the school market.
Yet Bruce expects universities to be the most attracted to Apple because of its R&D grant program, and the Web streaming and quick timing technology it offers.
Apple's $300,000 annual grant program is broken into three tiers; seeding grants for individual student IT developers, faculty pilot grants and $30,000 to $50,000 scholarships for students.
Bruce said Apple also benefits from the grant program with the use of Apple technology in the medical and science fraternities broadening its reach beyond old industry friends such as graphic arts and education.
Bruce also revealed a major univer-sity is testing wireless technology where doctors deliver online health care to patients out in the bush. He expects a more detailed announcement to be made next month.