Some Apple channel partners fear unfair treatment after Renaissance’s acquisition of the vendor’s largest local reseller Magnum Mac.
The Apple distributor announced the $3.5 million purchase on Monday in what it says is a bid to raise the standard of Apple retailing in New Zealand.
However, resellers are concerned the move could impact on stock and pricing.
Ubertec manager Talia Hochwimmer says it is early days but the company wants to get some answers from Renaissance on what the deal means for other Apple resellers.
“Our concerns are [about having] a level playing field [around] availability and pricing now that there is some vertical integration across the market. But we feel we have a strong position with superior customer service.”
Hochwimmer says Ubertec plans to expand its own online presence and possibly open more stores in the long-term.
Logical Systems manager Daven Naidu says the acquisition presents a big threat.
“They’ve told us it will be good but I can’t see it. I think it’s an anti-competitive gesture.”
Eighteen-year-old Magnum Mac has four stores in the main cities and owner Murray Wood will continue to run it as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Renaissance. Five new stores are planned and there may be changes in existing Magnum Mac premises.
Both Wood and Renaissance managing director Paul Johnston have sought to allay resellers’ fears.
Wood points out that Renaissance has always been a reseller through its education division, Red, and says smaller Apple resellers in Australia have benefited from the presence of Apple retail stores there, which he says have grown the brand overall.
“They’ve got nothing to fear. Part of my new role is to work with all Apple resellers. We’ll still be in communication and we’re not trying to be anti-competitive.
“These resellers that may be nervous have competed with us over the last 18 years and have survived. We’re about to grow the overall market, which should be good for them.”
Johnston says Renaissance has had mixed reseller reaction to the acquisition, ranging from congratulations to concern that its business involves both distribution and retail.
“The answer to that is we’ve had that for many years – we ran an Apple online store and the same concerns were raised then. I think those fears were largely forgotten about. We ran a really good business and set the standard. We didn’t allocate stock to the store ahead of the channel, in fact we did the opposite.”
Renaissance will continue to do the right thing by the channel, says Johnston. “Magnum Mac will be run at arm’s length as a subsidiary and they’ll order stock like any other reseller.”
The company will also share with other resellers any retail initiatives it comes up with, Johnston says.
Apple meanwhile does not appear to have had a hand in the acquisition.
“It’s a Renaissance decision. It’s not an Apple play,” says Apple Australia public relations manager Fiona Martin, who referred Reseller News to Renaissance for any further comment on the acquisition.