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European Apple resellers say lack of inventory is putting them out of business

post #1 of 79
Thread Starter 
Apple's network of authorized "Premium Resellers" across Europe have complained that they are no longer a priority since Apple began expanding its own retail locations.

The ongoing struggle was profiled this week by France's Les Echos ( Google Translate). It details a complaint filed last November by eBizcuss, the first authorized reseller of Apple France and the largest in the country, which saw its sales fall 22 percent in its third fiscal quarter of 2011.

eBizcuss has 200 employees and 15 stores, but it is said to be on the verge of bankruptcy. The Apple Premium Reseller has seen its stock price plummet 50 percent over the last year.

The report notes that one of the reseller locations at the Hotel de Ville in Paris is sparsely populated, with just six idle vendors. The store does not carry the iPhone, and employees tell visitors to visit the official Apple store at Rue de Rivoli.

But the Apple Store at the Carrousel du Louvre, which opened in 2009, was said to carry a "completely different atmosphere" when visited 15 minutes later, packed with customers and with plenty of iPhones and iPads in stock.

The report noted that Apple's own retail stores and their continued expansion have marginalized Apple Premium Resellers. That prompted eBizcuss to file an injunction against Apple and threaten to file a complaint of unfair competition to the Competition Authority in France.

Separately, a person who contacted AppleInsider to highlight issues experienced by Apple Premium Resellers claimed that resellers in Sweden and Germany are also about to go bankrupt. That person said they expect that Appel's resellers in the Netherlands will also be negatively affected when Apple opens its first Dutch store on Feb. 18.

Resellers have become a less important part of Apple's business as the company has grown its own retail presence since it launched in 2001. In the company's most recent quarterly earnings report, Apple officials revealed that its retail stores attracted 110 million people, and on average its stores see 22,000 visitors per week.




Though the bulk of Apple's retail locations are in the U.S., the company has been aggressively expanding its footprint internationally. Now, many of the company's most trafficked retail stores are located outside of the U.S.

Authorized resellers who spoke with Les Echos said there has been a chronic shortage of supply for product supply. They also say they are held to standards by Apple they simply cannot meet.

Apple audits its authorized resellers and sends in "mystery shoppers" to make sure everything is up to the company's standards. But French resellers have complained that the inspections are conducted by a British company rather than Apple's French marketing team.

"Ultimately the (Authorized Premium Resellers) have become stores dedicated to Mac, iPhone cases or with after-sale services," one unnamed manager was quoted as saying.

The report notes that while resellers are in the "twilight of a long love affair" that began in 1989, Apple plans to continue to expand its retail locations in France. While there are 9 stores currently located there, it indicated that Apple plans to open "dozens" of new stores in the coming years.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 79
guys,

not to worry, MS is looking for partners to open MS Premium Retail stores in europe


love,

SB
post #3 of 79
Perhaps their credit is being cut back by Apple as their businesses have declined which might explain inventory shortages. Apple are not going ship a ton of product to a company with a massive overdraft and a potential to go out of business. A horrible catch 22 to be sure if true but it wouldn't be Apple's doing by intent.

I won't touch the subject where they complain an English company is doing audits in the French stores ... Way too political!
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #4 of 79
They should be looking for alternate revenue streams because this issue will not get better for them.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #5 of 79
One has to ask, though, if Apple is choking off supply only to the stores close to Apple stores or if supply is also being cut to locations that aren't anywhere near an Apple store.

Remember that France is one of the countries showing a decline of iPhone sales in Europe. Actually, France had the greatest drop in sales.

Of course, one could argue that the drop in sales occurred because the resellers weren't doing their job but if that's not the reason then Apple had best address the situation promptly.
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post #6 of 79
Apple does have a ruthless side these days. Back in the dark days it was the resellers that kept Apple alive.
Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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Believe nothing, no matter where you heard it, not even if I have said it, if it does not agree with your own reason and your own common sense.
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post #7 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

Apple does have a ruthless side these days. Back in the dark days it was the resellers that kept Apple alive.

I've been an Apple customer since 1984, through thick and thin, good days and bad, and people like me kept the company afloat through its 'dark days'.

So does that mean that Apple should subsidize my purchases as well?
post #8 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I've been an Apple customer since 1984, through thick and thin, good days and bad, and people like me kept the company afloat through its 'dark days'.

So does that mean that Apple should subsidize my purchases as well?

Actually, I like that idea!
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post #9 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They should be looking for alternate revenue streams because this issue will not get better for them.

I see it the same way.

In our personal investing, we are always advised to diversify and to not "have all your eggs in one basket". A business that relies solely on the products supplied by only one company seems foolish.
post #10 of 79
Most of the Apple resellers in the world have changed their retail designs to mimmick Apple Stores in look and experience. Most. Those that haven't cannot possibly compete. I suspect these resellers who are complaining have seen sales drop long before Apple made them a lower priority for stocking new inventory. That's fair competition, and what follows is Apple appropriately cutting off a dying reseller. Makes sense. Them's the breaks.
post #11 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

Apple does have a ruthless side these days. Back in the dark days it was the resellers that kept Apple alive.

I'm not sure I can agree with that. Apple did rely completely on resellers but that's because it didn't have internet sales or its own retail stores. There was really no other option. Frankly the retailers didn't do a great job (on the whole) of making Apple's product look desirable. They were often pushed to the back of the store to rot.

As for being ruthless that is part of any for profit company's DNA if they wish to survive. One of Jobs first commands upon returning as interim CEO of Apple was to end all Mac clones. This wasn't Apple being dick for dick's sake, but Apple trying to survive. Where they dick? From the cloner's PoV, most likely. Was Apple right? Absolutely!

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #12 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple's network of authorized "Premium Resellers" across Europe have complained that they are no longer a priority since Apple began expanding its own retail locations.



Did Apple ever promise a reliable supply of product? Did Apple ever promise not to favor company owned stores?

These guys made a deal. And now they are having buyer's remorse. Apple makes a LOT more selling retail than they do giving wholesale prices to these rubes. I bet that they can buy as many iPhones as they want from Apple - at the Apple store. Grow up guys.
post #13 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

Apple does have a ruthless side these days. Back in the dark days it was the resellers that kept Apple alive.

I have tried to shop at an Authorized Apple Reseller since 1986 and every time I went in the shop for the past two and a half decades, I was treated like it was a privilege to be allowed in the store and have a person sell to me. It was the worst experience shopping so I turned to Apple's online store and was thrilled that Apple opened their own retail stores. I love the Apple experience and hope these greedy resellers go under as soon as possible.
post #14 of 79
Quote:
"The store does not carry the iPhone, and employees tell visitors to visit the official Apple store at Rue de Rivoli.

Does that mean they choose not to carry the iPhone? or they are not allowed by Apple to carry the iPhone? or they are not equipment to sell iPhones (activation, etc)? or they just don't want to be bothered with the process involved in selling an iPhone? or they are not authorized but the cellular carrier?

It would seem to me that if you had a choice and you elected not to carry what could be called the flagship product - or the very least the product with the single highest "buzz" around it - then you are in effect buying a gun, buying bullets, shooting yourself in the foot, waiting for a bit while you bleed out, then instead of calling an ambulance, calling the media to show them what a terrible thing Apple has done to you.
post #15 of 79
The questions abound:

1. Do non-Apple stores provide the quality experience for customers that Apple has found is fundamental to their success?
2. Is the problem for non-Apple stores lack of inventory or lack of sales that can draw inventory? Cause and effect are open issues.

Finally, assuming Apple stocked these stores would it have a material advance in overall sales or are customers expecting Apple Stores in France, my bet the latter will drive sales and happy customes.
post #16 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by ElectroTech View Post

I, I was treated like it was a privilege to be allowed in the store and have a person sell to me.

In some high-end electronics stores, you need to make an appointment to talk to somebody. Was it as bad as that?
post #17 of 79
These resellers are caught between a rock and a hard place: Popularity of Apple's products drove people to their locations (good) but also drove Apple to build their own controlled stores (bad). Companies and retail stores evaporate & cease to exist all the time; it's not like these resellers had some sort of 'non-compete' contract in place with Apple.
post #18 of 79
Unless an Apple re-seller can offer me a substancial price drop (they typically don't); why would I want to buy from them, instead of buying from Apple direct? When I buy from Apple directly - I have a permanently available receipt via the web site; I have a garantee of full Apple Support, plus I can opt to upgrade to AppleCare through the website at a later point in time.

If Apple has the same price, more or better service options, and garanteed stock - why would I want to consider an Apple re-seller?
post #19 of 79
Apple Premium Resellers worldwide just cannot accept the fact that Apple Retail Stores offer a better experience to a consumer than those resellers' stores.

As a consumer, I would definitely walk into an Apple Retail Store as compared to a Reseller. In fact, in the country where I currently reside in, there is no Apple Retail Store thus I shun away from those Authorized Resellers cause their service is average to poor, the entire experience at the store is so disappointing, and many more other factors that now I ONLY PURCHASE direct from Apple Online Store. After all, there is more to gain than lose. Courier direct to my doorsteps FREE. No hassle return or exchange should there be any issue with the package, just a phone call and someone will come to pick it up or exchange with new one.

Resellers are mostly alike - blame others but themselves for their failures to innovate and compete in the overall retail operations and end-user experience.
post #20 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by gprovida View Post

Looking at Apple Sales in Europe - Suggest Apple on Right Track

Huh??

Market share and sales of the iPhone are declining in Europe.

I wouldn't say that is the right track.
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post #21 of 79
There is only one store in town that only sells Apple products, and it is the worst place in town to shop. No one helps you, the PoP is all outdated, there is barely anything on display, and they are hesitant to even answer your questions. It is a terrible shopping experience and it makes the Apple brand look bad. And when you try to buy a Mac at a Best Buy, they make you sit down and answer a bunch of questions and get you to buy extra crap. I told the sales guy there is no way Apple would be cool with this. I know there are some resellers who are great and who are doing their best, but they need to get a handle on these 3rd party resellers.
post #22 of 79
They are upset they miss the writing on the wall. Oh I forgot, they only speak and read French and the Apple freight train announce its arrival in France in English.

Come on what did they expect to happen, Apple is opening stores all over the place and like any business they will favor their own stores over any other, hell apple does that in the US with Best Buy, Target and Wal-mart, so what did this company think was going to happen to them.

They real issue is the fact the wasted money setting up the company as a public company so they were subject to the whims of the market.

I have a local Mac only store and I visit it before driving 20 mile to the big Apple store since it is closer and I do not want to deal with crowds of nut apple buyers. Oh guess what it is a family own business and they are opening new locations in various areas not near Apples bug stores. I guess they figure out how to make money off apples success.
post #23 of 79
Apple Stores Rock....this toads attitude says it all ...i can only imagine what its like to deal with if u went into hes stores...oh and if your a english customer u can forget about it...he clearly in hes comments about english auditors had a dislike for non-french people.
post #24 of 79
Quote:
Apple audits its authorized resellers and sends in "mystery shoppers" to make sure everything is up to the company's standards. But French resellers have complained that the inspections are conducted by a British company rather than Apple's French marketing team.

Does it means that if I am not a Frenchie, the resellers will "treat" me differently to the extend that it fails Apple's standard???
post #25 of 79
Looks like the middle man is being cut out.

But I suspect there are opportunities out there for clever entrepreneurs. For example, how about setting up a store that will do custom upgrades on new Macs? It could work like this:

1. you come into the store and consult with a salesperson who helps you pick a Mac from Apple's website and upgrades from OWC's website.

2. with the salesperson's help (if necessary) you order the stuff you need and have it delivered to the store.

3. everything is shipped to the store, where the staff put it altogether for you.

4. the store could even offer an alternative to AppleCare.

Such a store could also provide higher-end services and support for both consumers and small business (same day loaners on equipment that goes down; workshops on various software products that perhaps go into more depth than the Apple Store's workshops;...)

Such a store would be a bit of a niche, perhaps, but at least in larger cities I bet it could be successful.
post #26 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodar View Post

Unless an Apple re-seller can offer me a substancial price drop (they typically don't); why would I want to buy from them, instead of buying from Apple direct? When I buy from Apple directly - I have a permanently available receipt via the web site; I have a garantee of full Apple Support, plus I can opt to upgrade to AppleCare through the website at a later point in time.

If Apple has the same price, more or better service options, and garanteed stock - why would I want to consider an Apple re-seller?

At some stores, like Best Buy, the return policies may be better. No restocking fees, etc. also, you might have a better shot at getting a new replacement for a DOA. Apple sometimes gives refurbs, according to some comments I have seen.

And other retailers have incentive programs. Best Buy used to give you coupons equal to abut 4% of your purchases. for big items, like an X Box or computer, the amount is substantial. So you come back the next month and buy software or games or whatever.

Other retailers have sales, and some offer consistent discounts. Apple stores charge MSRP for the most part. I don't understand why anybody would buy expensive accessories, like iHome products or expensive headphones at an Apple store. AFAIK, Apple doesn't even stand behind third-party goods that it sells at Apple stores. They make you go through the manufacturer to get warranty service. Big chain retailers don't do that. At a place like Costco, you can return the defective item and just get a new one.
post #27 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaicka View Post

Does it means that if I am not a Frenchie, the resellers will "treat" me differently to the extend that it fails Apple's standard???

I didn't think of that. Maybe Apple is specifically testing how foreigners might be treated by resellers. If so, that is very clever.
post #28 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

guys,

not to worry, MS is looking for partners to open MS Premium Retail stores in europe

I know you're being a tad sarcastic but there is some truth to the statement. Times are changing and these folks need to change also. Most authorized resellers here in LA are more about getting the accessories that the stores don't carry (better printers, speakers, wacoms, cameras). AND about being authorized repair shops that can and will do out of warranty repairs. Especially of those 5 year items that Cali law says there has to be parts for but the stores don't have to have them on site. You're paying anyway so would you rather wait 3-5 days for the local Apple Store to order and then another 3-5 for the repair or go to one of the authorized shops that could have the part in and can have the computer back to you in 2 days.

If these shops couldn't see the writing on the wall when Apple started this whole store project then that's on the shops, not Apple. Of course Apple is going to favor their own stores. Any company would. ANd I doubt they ever promised not to open a store near an AR shop etc.

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #29 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Looks like the middle man is being cut out.

But I suspect there are opportunities out there for clever entrepreneurs. For example, how about setting up a store that will do custom upgrades on new Macs? It could work like this:

1. you come into the store and consult with a salesperson who helps you pick a Mac from Apple's website and upgrades from OWC's website.

2. with the salesperson's help (if necessary) you order the stuff you need and have it delivered to the store.

3. everything is shipped to the store, where the staff put it altogether for you.

4. the store could even offer an alternative to AppleCare.

Such a store could also provide higher-end services and support for both consumers and small business (same day loaners on equipment that goes down; workshops on various software products that perhaps go into more depth than the Apple Store's workshops;...)

Such a store would be a bit of a niche, perhaps, but at least in larger cities I bet it could be successful.

And how long would it take before Apple steps in and says no, you can't do that?
post #30 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

At some stores, like Best Buy, the return policies may be better. No restocking fees, etc. also, you might have a better shot at getting a new replacement for a DOA. Apple sometimes gives refurbs, according to some comments I have seen.

Given the standards that Apple puts their refurbs though, that shouldn't be an issue in most cases.

At places like Best Buy you are just as likely to get an 'open box'/refurb but the standards aren't always as great. Often at big box stores they just check that all the cables etc are in the box and stick it on a shelf to be erased when someone gets around to it. But if someone wants to buy that open unit (or they want to replace a 'broken' one) they grab and don't bother to check that the erasing was done. I've heard many a horror story about turning on a computer to a collection of porn etc. Smart phones with address books and text messages in them. And 99.9% of the time it was a big box that the item came from.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #31 of 79
I absolutely love the spin on this with little detail really known. Obviously the resellers are 100% at fault and deserve anything that happens.
post #32 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

Huh??
Market share and sales of the iPhone are declining in Europe.
I wouldn't say that is the right track.

I don't believe this and I know you're just a troll, but the point is really that there are a lot more products Apple sells than iPhone.

There was a report just yesterday about how while all other PC sales declined, Apple's market share and volume were significantly UP in Europe.

Apple's sales, share, and store presence has been expanding all over Europe for the last four or five years.
post #33 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

I don't believe this and I know you're just a troll, but the point is really that there are a lot more products Apple sells than iPhone.

There was a report just yesterday about how while all other PC sales declined, Apple's market share and volume were significantly UP in Europe.

Apple's sales, share, and store presence has been expanding all over Europe for the last four or five years.



Grab a brain Prof.

The report of declining iPhone sales and market share in Europe was right here on AI. I'm not going to help your lazy ass by looking it up for you.

... and, oh yeah, Mac sales are a much greater percentage of Apple's profits than the iPhone.
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post #34 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by allblue View Post

Apple does have a ruthless side these days. Back in the dark days it was the resellers that kept Apple alive.

I worked for several premium independent Apple resellers here in the US. Apple did the same thing to us. Once an Apple store was in town, Apple choked us off from popular products, and did everything else possible to make our lives as tough as possible. It was too bad Apple didn't see us as valuable to their success, but they obviously didn't. If you're an Apple dealer facing encroaching competition from Apple themselves, you better be looking for another job.
post #35 of 79
this is actually an old story from a month ago

apple told these guys to spend $8 million per store for a new look but is holding back inventory and telling them which inventory to carry as well as not letting them sell iphone and ipads.

i'm still surprised these guys are apple resellers and not getting the hint hint wink wink
post #36 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

I've heard many a horror story about turning on a computer to a collection of porn etc. Smart phones with address books and text messages in them. And 99.9% of the time it was a big box that the item came from.

It doesn't have to be a big box for this to happen - I bought a refurbed ethernet hard drive direct from Lacie a few years ago that came complete with the previous owners data still intact... photos, personal correspondence, you name it...

And haven't I read somewhere about Motorola having to apologise this week for shipping out refurb Xooms without bothering to wipe them first?
post #37 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by island hermit View Post

... and, oh yeah, Mac sales are a much greater percentage of Apple's profits than the iPhone.

I was going along fine with the rest, but I can't tell if you're joking here.



That doesn't look like... oh, percentage of PROFITS.

And there's no breakdown of profit by category... Okay, the iPhone represents 53% of sales and the Mac represents 14% of sales. I'll let someone who knows about this stuff figure out how much money they'd have to make on Macs and how little money they'd have to make on iPhones to make what you said true.
post #38 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by gprovida View Post

The questions abound:

1. Do non-Apple stores provide the quality experience for customers that Apple has found is fundamental to their success?

So far all the "experience" I had at the montreal downtown store have been horrible. I had to go through 5 appointements to solve a MBP problem (until they gave up reparing it and just replace it with a new one) and they even had the guts to ask a co-workers to make an appointement to change a defective ipad charger.

When you go to appointements, you need to sit on the floor and wait for at least 30 minutes because they are always late. It looks more like an ER room than a store customer services.

The only good thing that happen to me there is they change for free an ipad that had been physicly damage. But still had to go through the appointement mess before. The replacement unit screen is yellow'ish, but i am not complaining since I got it for free.
post #39 of 79
Maybe I can shed some light on the reseller situation. My family owned an Apple Specialist for 25 years and I worked there for 11 years. We have since sold the business to someone else so I feel a bit more inclined to discuss it.

Being a reseller has been a struggle for the Apple Reseller's in the world for the most part, especially ones with Apple going in next door. We've seen many of our friends shut their doors in larger cities cause it's very difficult to compete with Apple.

For our business we did very well cause I'd like to think of us as one of the better resellers. We were also located 2 hours from the nearest Apple Store and nobody was interested in driving that far. Because of that our sales increased every year as Apple grew to be a larger company. We offered the same computers, same service, same AppleCare and can often times beat certain prices depending on the situation. We couldn't sell iPhones but to be honest that was a blessing in disguise. So many factors outside our store would determine if somebody liked their phone or not, including reception at their home and work so it was better that he couldn't handle them.

Apple is most definitely a competitor, probably our biggest one but what can you expect, it's in their nature. You can complain about it or you can evolve and prepare for the future. The Apple Education store KILLED us. Apple is selling machines lower than what we can buy them for and many people often times abuse the educational pricing since Apple doesn't really check anything. Best Buy and online sales without sales tax also killed us. We had to sell people on our service and support and let them know we value our customers who shop with us instead of our competitors and many people appreciated that.

I know this isn't true for all resellers but I'd go so far as to say we help people in many more ways versus the Apple Store. You see, at the Apple Store, employees can only help people on certain topics, often times just Apple things. If you had a weird peculiar problem with 3rd party software Apple would have you just contact that company and I can't say I blame them. Our business was the only Mac place in the region, if I didn't solve someone's problems no one would. I knew Apple wouldn't help them, their 3rd party software's 1-800 number wouldn't help them so everything fell on our shoulders. I didn't mind because I loved helping people. Most people are extremely grateful when you take time out of your day to solve their unique problem that no one else would sniff at. Our staff was also more knowledgable versus most Apple Store employees (at least in my experience). Unfortunately Apple has to hire so many people for their stores that they hire personality first and teach them the Mac later. That leaves you with a lot of untrained people selling Macs. At our business everyone was a Mac person and everyone was an expert in their field. We solved issues that only someone with tenured experience would be able to figure out.

For hard to get items we would most certainly get little inventory but it became to be expected, not a surprise. On iPad launch day we were probably guaranteed to get none, same with new iPods and other small things. Computers Apple usually did a pretty good job of getting them to us so that was a plus.

I could go on and on but it's unnecessary. We were a lucky one, our business rose with the success of Apple and we were thankful for that despite the fierce competition from Apple. I wish their was a solution for the other resellers but there really isn't. Apple loves control and there Apple Stores are a perfect example of that. Apple has tons of money and are able to build these beautiful stores that people gravitate towards. If these future resellers want to survive they need to evolve their business plan. They need to focus on service and support since most Apple Store's are a damn zoo when it comes to getting anything fixed. They need to evolve and work on setting businesses up with software solutions and high end software sales.

While I loved working on the Apple Reseller world I'm glad we passed to torch on to someone else. It's only a matter of time before Apple comes to our neck of the woods and it would cast a dark cloud over us instantly.
post #40 of 79
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

I was going along fine with the rest, but I can't tell if you're joking here.



That doesn't look like... oh, percentage of PROFITS.

And there's no breakdown of profit by category... Okay, the iPhone represents 53% of sales and the Mac represents 14% of sales. I'll let someone who knows about this stuff figure out how much money they'd have to make on Macs and how little money they'd have to make on iPhones to make what you said true.

I was being sarcastic.

It sounded to me like the Prof was trying to trump the decline of iPhone sales in Europe with the increase in Mac sales.
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