12/11/2006

APPLE TO FINALLY GO DIRECT IN NZ?

There was much excite generated at Publicaddress.net last week when Russell Brown suggested Apple had reclaimed its New Zealand domain from Apple distributor Renaissance as a preparatory move to dumping Renaissance in favour of setting up a direct presence in New Zealand. From the emphatic response I received from Renaissance boss Paul Johnston, I think it's likely Renaissance will hold the Apple account for at least another year.

I've never dealt with Renaissance as a customer - I bought my Apple iPod in Singapore and within two months had left it on an Air New Zealand flight from Brisbane to Christchurch never to be seen again. But I've heard awful things about Renaissance and Apple fanatics are convinced they're getting ripped off by Renaissance which they claim adds a big margin onto Apple products it sells here. That may be the case. A simple comparison shows we pay more than the Australians do for Apple computers and iPods after you take into acocunt the exchange rate. Would it be any different if Apple set up shop here itself? It would if it ran a Dell-like operation, effectively running the New Zealand arm out of Australia like most IT companies do. But I don't think Apple's pricing would suddenly dip with a move to a direct model in New Zealand. What I'd like to see if Apple do take over, is the opening of an Apple store in New Zealand, probably in Auckland, and the formation of the iTunes.co.nz music store. MAybe then we'd be on a footing with other Apple users around the world

My story from the Herald on Renaissance's staunch denial they are about to be retired by Apple...

Renaissance won't bite on Apple rumour
Friday November 10, 2006
By Peter Griffin
New Zealand's sole distributor of Apple computers and the iPod music player has rejected speculation it is about to lose the lucrative account that has fuelled its growth.
Renaissance Corporation managing director Paul Johnston said speculation on the Publicaddress.net Publicaddress.net weblog and other websites, about a move by Apple to ditch Renaissance in favour of a direct presence in New Zealand, was "off the mark".
"We've already been given our indicative targets for the next 12 months," Johnston said. The targets handed down by Apple suggest Renaissance's business with the California-based computer maker is safe for at least another year.
Renaissance, listed on the NZX, would no doubt be upset to see the Apple relationship end. Sales of the iPod helped push Renaissance profits up 120 per cent to $5.1 million last year. The Apple account remains the jewel in its crown despite attempts to diversify into other areas of IT.
Shares in Renaissance closed up 1c at $1.28 yesterday.
Johnston has warned that profit is likely to grow a more modest 20 per cent this year as the iPod buying frenzy abates.
Apple has a direct presence in many of the countries in which it sells computers and iPods and even runs its own retail stores. That fact, and a recent move by Renaissance's IT department to change the administration of Apple email addresses used by Renaissance staff, has led observers to suggest Renaissance's Apple-selling days are numbered.
Johnston was aware there was a perception that Apple products were sold at a significant premium in New Zealand compared with other markets, but said it was unfair to compare New Zealand and American pricing.
"Part of the problem is that lots of people do the comparison with the US. We buy through Apple Australia."
He said the exchange rate accounted for most of the difference between Australian and New Zealand pricing, but because of its hedging "it has to be a significant shift for us to make [pricing] different".
Johnston had no light to shed on reports that the opening of a New Zealand iTunes store was imminent.

No comments: