April 16, 2003 9:40 AM PDT

Resellers get back to the Mac

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After earlier balking at a new contract, several of Apple Computer's key resellers have inked deals to continue selling Apple gear.

Among the holdouts that have reached a pact with Apple are Dell Computer and regional computer sellers Fry?s Electronics and Micro Center, according to a source familiar with the situation.

A number of resellers lost authorization to sell Apple gear as of April 1 by refusing to sign a new contract with Apple. Several resellers were unhappy with the terms of the deal, according to sources, including a clause that gave Apple the right to inspect its resellers' business records even after a dealer was no longer selling the company's products.

A Dell representative said last week that the company remained in talks with Apple although it had stopped selling the iPod. Dell had begun selling the iPod in a surprise move last October. As of Wednesday morning, the iPod had not reappeared on Dell?s site, but a Dell representative confirmed that the Apple music players should be available again shortly.

Representatives of Micro Center and Fry's were not immediately available for comment.

Although some resellers have still not signed Apple?s new contract, Apple said the amount of sales represented by such dealers had dropped significantly.

In a statement to CNET News.com, Apple said that those resellers that have not yet signed deals represented 0.3 percent of Apple?s sales in fiscal 2002. A week ago, the resellers that had not signed accounted for roughly 1.5 percent.

Among those unhappy with the terms of the deal are some of the resellers that are suing Apple over its business practices. Those resellers allege that, among other things, Apple gives preferential treatment to its own retail outlets.


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