Apple solution providers gathered for the Macworld Conference and Expo in Boston this week say they are seeing strong sales growth this year.
Don Moody, owner of Gorham Micro, a Saco, Maine, Apple reseller, expects to see an 8 percent to 10 percent increase in his Apple business this year. "Our Macintosh business is very good," said Moody.
Gorham Micro, a $1.2 million solution provider with about 70 percent of its business in the Apple market, said the Macintosh user community remains very loyal to Apple. "If you do them right you will never lose them," he said. "They aren't going to go somewhere else because it is five cents cheaper."
Moody's biggest complaint is that he would like to see Apple fix some of the supply constraints that have hampered his ability to get products such as G5 CPUs and LCD displays. "We can sell everything we can get," he said.
Moody's advice to Apple: Don't announce a product until it is well-stocked on Apple Specialists' shelves. "Customers at least want to see a demo," he said. "What happens is all the excitement is gone before the product is on the shelves."
Kevin Langdon, CEO of San Diego Apple reseller Crywolf and the director of reseller group Apple Specialists Marketing Co-Op, said his Apple business is up about 10 percent this year.
More than 65 Apple specialists made the trip to Macworld, boycotted this year by Apple because of its Boston location. The show is expected to draw 10,000 attendees. In fact, the co-op group had the largest booth at the show, which ends Friday.
Langdon said the co-op, which now has 90 members with 120 locations, is more than pleased with the support it is getting from Apple. "We'd like to thank Apple for the support they are giving us," he said. "As a group our sales are up from last year. A lot of people got into this business to make money. Apple dealers got into this business because they like Macs."
Brian Georges, co-owner of MacMedia, a five-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., Apple partner, said he is seeing phenomenal growth in his Apple business.
"Apple continues to give us fantastic products to sell," he said. "The OS is the best OS on the face of the planet and they continue to improve it. It's great to be an Apple Specialist." Georges said Apple's own stores have not been hurting his business.
John Christopherson, CEO of MacSpecialist, Villa Park, Ill., said Apple continues to make the best products on the market. "We are very happy," he said. "The products they are putting out just keep getting better."
Christopherson also praised the efforts of the Apple Specialist Cooperative. "This is not about my store," he said. "This is about letting people know that there is a channel that exists of Apple Specialists who can fix their problems. Apple has a lot of channels. We are not their only channel. We are not asking them to do something special for us if we're just sitting on our hands."
Michael Oh, CEO of Tech Superpowers, Boston, said his predominantly Apple-based business is up 50 percent since March. Tech Superpowers has even hired a salesperson to go after some of the new business that is springing up with the rebounding IT market. For this year, Oh expects his 12-year-old business to grow about 10 percent to 15 percent, to $1.8 million.
Tech Superpowers is even getting some business referred to the company from Apple stores. "Our business has improved with the addition of the Apple stores," he said. "We don't go head-to-head. We look to work with Apple. We are, and always have been, primarily consulting."
Anita Meyer, principal at Plus Design, a Boston-based design firm, said Tech Superpowers has done an outstanding job providing services and solutions for her business. "They do a fantastic job for us," she said."We wouldn't buy from anybody else."
As for Apple's decision not to show up at Macworld, Meyer said: "It's kind of silly they didn't come. I think it was a poor business decision. We are the people who supported them through all the ups and downs."