updated 01:40 pm EST, Thu January 5, 2012
Apple pushing expensive store upgrades, says chain
French reseller eBizcuss is getting some support in its lawsuit against Apple, says ChannelWeb. The website recently received a 4,400-word letter from an anonymous European Apple Premium Reseller, likewise complaining about product shortages. The APR also alleges, however, that resellers are suffering cash flow problems due to Apple cutting credit lines, and that Apple partners are stepping into APR territory and forcing down margins through SMB (small-to-medium business) and education deals.
Another serious charge is that Apple is requiring APRs to upgrade to a new "V2" store design by the end of the year, at a cost of about $400,000 per shop. Resellers who don't follow suit will lose their APR status, but the anonymous company suggests that the redesign is not only too expensive in some cases but meant to keep APRs from selling whatever third-party products they want. "According to our calculation, if eBizcuss has 15 shops, the investment required to remain in the business as an APR v2 would be $6m to $8m...one must concede that without product to place in their shops, with unfair competition from Apple's own pricing and regulation, with no access to iPhone, with no guarantee from Apple on any of the previous topics, it may be a very dangerous game to play," the firm suggests.
Another APR, from the UK, offers a similar perspective. "The general consensus is good luck to them [eBizcuss]. APRs on the continent are definitely feeling the pain more than us, but there are instances where Apple has given preferential treatment to its own stores and website and even the high street retailers like DSG. We totally feel eBizcuss's pain and hope that something positive comes out of it. Apple is not giving us the tools to do the job it wants us to do."