7. Do you already notice any changes in buying behaviour? People postponing their Mac purchase until the new Intel Macs arrive?
Wim: No, not at all. I can imagine that somewhere next year, March, April, May, we might see this. There are a lot of people who just want to browse, they want to maintain a photo database; there are companies that just need an extra workplace; they're not going to just wait. So, we're really not afraid of this. We went through more transitions, like from 68k to PowerPC, and that didn't give us this effect either. Also, bear in mind that a lot of customers want to be on the safe side; and they know for sure that the current systems work perfectly. And what the new systems will bring? Well, it will go okay, but, especially within companies, certainty is crucial. Companies won't postpone their purchases. Only the real tech-freaks might postpone; but hey, then they'll buy it two months later. No big deal. Whatever valley we might experience in purchases, will be countered by a spike a little later.
8. You already answered this question for 50%, but do you expect any problems to arise when trying to sell the stock of PPC Macs once the Intel Macs have arrived?
Wim: No, that won't be a problem. Apple knows exactly what we and other resellers have in stock. Therefor, Apple knows exactly when the PPC Macs get sold out, and when to phase in the new Intel Macs. Apple checks our weekly status reports, they see which machines are getting sold out, and they say: "Here are our new machines." On top of that, if we do have too much PPC machines left, we'll offer them with discount pricing, and we'll get rid of them easily. Also, Apple has no interest in leaving its biggest partners with large numbers of machines, because then those partners won't buy Apple's new machines.
9. MacSupport also sells second-hand Macs. Do you expect a larger supply in that market, due to people selling their old Macs in favor of the new Intel Macs? Will that larger supply lead to lower prices?
Wim: Across the line, prices have been going down for years. In the early days, we sold the IIfx for 20 000 Guilders (9 075 Euro / 11 000 US Dollars). Same for the IIci, and the IIcx for 15 000 Guilders (6 800 Euro / 8 200 US Dollars). The prices have dropped quite a bit since then. When someone buys a new computer for 1 500 Euros (1 800 US Dollars), and after three years they get 200 Euros (240 US Dollars) for it, they really don't care. But, it does mean that someone else can get a usable machine for only 300 Euros (360 US Dollars).
Of course the pricing of our occasions is directly linked to the prices of new Macs. For instance, when the Mac Mini came, we had to drop prices on all the PowerMac G4 machines we had with about 200 Euros, because the Mini had the same speed, at 500 Euros (600 US Dollars).
10. About the Mini, does it sell well?
Wim: Yes. Well, it could have been a little bit better, but we still are satisfied about it. But, you know, the thing is, from a marketing point of view, customers come here knowing they can buy a Mac for 500 Euros, but when they're here, they also see the beautiful iMac G5. So it's of course also a marketing trick to get people to the store for a Mac Mini, and let them go home with an iMac G5. We obviously don't want to discourage that. [chuckles]
11. A lot of people complain that Macs are too expensive (something that I disagree with). Do you expect any changes in pricing of the new Intel Macs?
Wim: No, I don't think so. The cost-price per processor won't rise, and Apple has only one mission: make sure they sell as many machines as possible. So they must be crazy if they were to use this opportunity to raise the prices. We also don't expect any lower prices; only in the long term, but that's because prices of computers have been going down for years. And if for instance Dell lowers their prices even more, Apple cannot stray too much. Apple is better, prettier, more reliable, but in the end it's up to the customer. And if that customer is satisfied with a Windows computer for 800 Euro (970 US Dollars), and the price is his selling point, then he won't buy a pretty iMac G5 for 1 500 Euro. So it's in Apple's own interest to keep prices as low as possible. The price/quality ratio must be similar to the rest of the market, and I think Apple is doing that quite well.
12. Apple has already seen two major transitions in its past. From 68k to PowerPC in 1993, and from OS9 to OS X in 2000/2001. Will the coming transition be easier or harder than those two?
Wim: I think it's going to be easier. Why? Because Apple has been working on this for 5 years, so Apple has worked this change into its software for 5 years. So if Apple rolls out the new Macs next year, they'll already have 6 years of experience with this. Everybody already knows that developers have ported their applications to Intel with a minor investment in time and thus a minor investment in money, so I'll think the transition will be quite smooth.