Apple Stores and the iPod Halo Effect
13. You guys have been an Apple reseller for 17 years. How do you feel about Apple taking retail upon themselves with the Apple Stores? Do you expect any (un)fair competition when they open up stores in The Netherlands?
Wim: That's of course a sensitive subject. [chuckles] Let me put it this way: if Apple plays fair with its dealers, then we barely have to compete with each other. But, it all depends on that fair play. There were occasions in America where Apple opened a retail store in a place where there also were successful dealers. And then Apple got critique on how they supplied their own stores in comparison to the independent dealers. And I think that that critique is founded.
Apple must play that game fair. If the game is played fair, and Apple supplies all stores equally, especially with new machines, then independant dealers can easily exist. The market is big enough. Look at Amsterdam. First there was only one small shop, now there are three bigger ones, and they all put food on the table.
14. I personally don't expect this to happen, but do you think that the Apple Stores will try to compete on price?
Wim: No, Apple Stores don't compete on price. However, sometimes we do think that Apple is pricing its accessories too low. But for the rest, prices are all equal, and you can't compete on prices, because it will kill you. Again, if Apple plays it fair, then we can both earn a decent living. But, if they don't, then we'll have a new situation.
15. A lot of people are debating about wether or not the iPod Halo effect exists. Do you notice this effect on the shop floor?
Wim: Oh yes, definitely! Look at the American market, how the market share is rising over there. We also see this in our shops.
16. But do you see this Halo effect in your shops?
Wim: Of course! How else can we grow each year for about 40 to 50 percent? We can't do that if the market isn't growing. There however is a shift from the smaller dealers to the bigger ones, but the growth percentages we've been showing for years-- in ten years time, we've become 7 times as big-- that can't be just us. We see a lot of Windows people who are fed up with viruses, trojans, spyware. And for those people, Apple is a healthy alternative.
Linux on the Mac
17. Linux is rising in popularity lately. Do you guys ever receive questions about Linux?
Wim: No, no. Not at all. Linux is a very good system, but let's be honest, it's a UNIX variant. And if you know that the base of OS X is FreeBSD, then there really aren't many arguments left to also have Linux on your Mac. Of course, Linux is a good and especially compact system, there's nothing wrong with it. But, there aren't many good applications for the Linux desktop. You can't really do anything with it as an individual or small company. For servers, yes, it's very good for that. But that's just a relatively small part of the market. And it's also on solid ground in the scientific area. But the largest piece of the pie is the desktop segment; companies, individuals. Linux is on the rise, but mostly on servers.
18. The next question is an extension to the previous one, but have you ever considered selling for instance Yellow Dog Linux?
Wim: No, never. Linux doesn't really add any possibilities. Tiger also has a decent webserver (we ourselves use Apache), but for the average Mac user, Linux doesn't really add anything. If we run a server application on an Xserve, that's pretty good too, you know! We are quite satisfied with that. You know, when you get an email at night telling you that one of the system fans is running too fast. [chuckles]
That was it! Thanks for taking the time to talk to us!
Wim: I'm glad to!
A few words
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