Bell Micro takes bite of Apple

The distributor will also make available Apple’s Xserve G5, AppleCare, Mac OS X Server, Apple Remote Desktop, and WebObjects solutions to its network of original equipment manufacturers, value-added resellers and system integrators across the country.

William Powell, strategic development manager at Apple Canada, said the company needed help with storage and looked to the market for a viable partner to focus solely on its storage solutions. “We spoke to everyone in the storage realm and time and time again Bell Microproduct’s name came to the top of the list,” he said. “We chose them on their merits.”

Although the Xserve RAID – which offers up to seven terabytes of storage in each 3U enclosure – was introduced two and a half years ago, Powell admitted that Apple is still relatively new in the back office storage market.

“We want to grow our percentage of sales in the market, it’s that simple,” said Powell. “We want to have distribution and sales partners to help us break into new accounts.”

Victim of its own success
Peter Diniz, vice-president and general manager of Bell Microproducts Canada, said the company spent 18 months discussing in detail the dynamics of the storage marketplace to help Apple understand how it is similar and different to the core marketplace of Apple.

“They were somewhat of a victim of their own success,” said Diniz. “Apple is so well known in certain vertical applications that it was never perceived as a mainstream option for storage.

“They came to realize that they needed to absolutely change their go-to-market strategy and behavior and they evaluated who could represent and partner with them in storage, and that’s how we came to be.”

Diniz added that as a specialized storage distributor, it made sense for Apple to engage with Bell Microproducts.

As part of the agreement, Bell Micro is adding a national alliance manager committed entirely to the Apple business unit. This specific sales team, explained Diniz, will target existing vertical Apple resellers to assure them that the change will be seamless, if not better for them.

“They are going on a recruitment campaign to bring net new VARs and net new business to Apple.” Diniz didn’t go into specifics but said margin potential for resellers would be in the double digits.

Diniz expects the two companies will have a better understanding of their respective needs, wants and capabilities in the coming months.

Prior to the deal with Bell Microproducts, Apple’s storage distribution was through Synnex Canada and Ingram Micro.

But according to Jim Estill, CEO at Synnex, this move has very little impact on the company. “Sales in the (Apple storage) product line were insignificant,” said Estill. Less than 0.1 per cent he estimated. “We sell tens of millions of dollars of Apple and virtually no Apple storage. If it affects our relationship (with Apple), my only hope is that Apple feels somewhat guilty and ships us more iPods,” he laughed.

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