AppleCentres out, Premium Resellers in

AppleCentres out, Premium Resellers in

Apple says the Premium Reseller option being offered to firms affected by the impending demise of the AppleCentre name will allow it to present a more unified brand.

The six New Zealand AppleCentre resellers (with nine stores) have been given written notice of the termination of their contracts, held here with Renaissance. Apple has made the same move in some overseas regions and the change will take effect here at the end of the year.

Apple public relations manager Fiona Martin says AppleCentres that meet stricter new service and support criteria will qualify to become Apple Premium Resellers.

The move, she says, will prompt a stronger relationship between Apple and its resellers. “Everyone has their own branding and that was the concern. It was a disparate channel and people couldn’t recognise what was approved by Apple.”

Martin says Renaissance will meet one-to-one with affected businesses to discuss how much assistance they need with re-branding, such as signage changes.

Soon after receiving the letter notifying her of the change, the manager of Auckland’s Ubertec, Karen Hochwimmer, said it was vague and she was keen to know the terms of the new arrangement. “I still want to get a few more answers from Apple and Renaissance. As long as they’re working with us we’re quite happy. We just don’t want them to cancel some of the perks and privileges associated with being an AppleCentre.”

Hochwimmer says Ubertec wants to build on its own brand. “We don’t usually identify ourselves as AppleCentre Parnell. A lot of customers get confused anyway — they think we’re Apple itself.”

AppleCentre Waikato says it is one of the few that uses the AppleCentre name, and sees both negative and positive aspects to the change. “It gives us a chance to review our branding and name, but on the other side there is a considerable amount of IP involved in the name itself,” says manager Mark Blackwell.

The store will need to change its newly revamped website, Blackwell says.

General manager of Apple’s Renaissance Computer Division, Steve Ford, says some AppleCentre resellers were taken to the annual channel conference in Sydney last week and given details of the new option. He says he will meet those who didn’t attend, and each affected company will get one or two more letters outlining the changes.

“We’ll be working with each and every one to make sure they’re aware of what the new regime means for them,” he says.

Apple launched its AppleCentre brand in 1998.

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