updated 10:00 am EST, Tue November 20, 2007
Apple axes AABA program
Apple has issued a letter to members of its Apple Authorized Business Agent (AABA) program announcing that the service will be discontinued on December 31st, 2007. Apple touted the sales program as enabling professionals trained and experienced in helping customers make informed purchasing decisions. AABA Agents offer personalized assistance, expert technical advice, knowledge of industry trends, and customized service. Agents were told to expect supplemental revenue, Apple training as well as support, professional backing from the Cupertino-based company itself, and new opportunities with minimal overhead.
Apple's letter to AABA members is short and to the point, citing the section of the agreement the company to abruptly terminate service:
"We appreciate your contribution to Apple's business as part of the Apple Business Agent program. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, we have decided to end this program. In accordance with section 12 B(i) of the Authorized Business Agent Agreement ('Agreement'), Apple is notifying you that your Agreement will be terminated effective January 1, 2008."
The discontinuation of the AABA program will have an even greater effect on Apple Consultants Network members who also chose to become Authorized Business Agents, primarily because those participants were forced to cut their ties with Apple retail stores.
"Personally, I never took this program too seriously because I know from experience that Apple makes these types of about-face moves at a moment's notice," one member told MacNN. "Historically, time and again, Apple [has] proven to be loyal only to Apple, disregarding the needs of the individual resellers and evangelists who built Apple from the ground up and stuck with them through their lean times."
ACN members who participated in the AABA were forbidden from participating in Apple's store referral program, and while those members are now allowed to rejoin the referral program they must now also attempt to rebuild their relationships with nearby stores.
"In my case, I will likely continue to be excluded from the referral program because the nearest store now has its compliment of ACN members," the AABA member said. "So basically, I am about to be completely cut off from Apple as a result of their own program decisions."