Apple resellers squeezed out of volume licensing model

Vendor 'turns its back' on software channel


Channel bully boy Apple has got its Premium Resellers second-guessing whether they will again feature in its plans for volume licensing after they were told no margin will be paid on the recently unveiled Final Cut Pro X.

The latest slap in the face for channel minions of the Jobsian empire follows the July release of OS X Lion made available only through the Mac App Store, as is the case for the latest heavy-duty video-editing software.

"Apple has again launched a product without considering the channel," said an Apple Premium Reseller (APR) who asked to remain anonymous. "We have to buy it at retail pricing and make no margin, but Apple reckons we could charge a 'handling' fee."

The strategy was creating a sense among some in the Mac channel that resellers are viewed by Apple as part of the third sector.

"It looks like we are expected to be a charity," said another APR source.

Presumably Apple applied the same logic with its Lion pricing – that shutting out the middleman enabled it to cut costs and the street price – to Final Cut Pro X.

Robert Peckham, Apple consultant at dealer group CompTIA, said he could understand why Apple wanted to control the cost of the software, but given the promotional activities some partners would undertake, he insisted "there has to be a reward".

"This is another example of Apple turning its back on the people that promoted its technology for years," he told The Reg.

All this leaves dealers pondering whether Apple's go-to-market policy on the recent Lion OS X and Final Cut are a signal of intent to push for more direct selling.

"Apple clearly believes that the channel adds no value [where software is concerned] but we provide a single point of purchase for Macs, servers, software, we install and support," another concerned APR said. ®

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