A leaked email from Apple to its resellers proves the company is attempting to prevent a repeat of Tesco's one-off sale of cut-price iMacs.
In the statement, Apple UK managing director Mark Rogers reassures the company's channel partners that the Tesco iMac move did not have its blessing.
In it, Rogers says: "We are aware of Tesco selling iMac DV machines at the reduced price of £699. Please be assured that this is not in any way supported by Apple."
Grey sales He added: "These machines were purchased through the grey market. We have identified the source of the product, and will be doing all we can to ensure that this does not happen in the future."
Apple's resellers are annoyed at the Tesco deal – which undercuts Apple's current entry-level model by £100 – and are taking steps to counter the supermarket giant's aggressive move into their market.
"One way to fight back", said a reseller who wished to remain anonymous, "is to add value to the Macs we sell".
Value added Another reseller confirmed the benefit of adding value to Macs, revealing that his company is now offering 64MB RAM free with every iMac.
A spokeswoman for the Office of Fair Trading told Macworld: "In terms of UK law, if Apple can prove there is a good reason not to supply a retailer, such as lack of trained support staff, then it may have a case."
Tesco recently approached Apple to become a legitimate vendor for its products, but claims Apple declined. Church said: "Apple refused on the grounds that we have no trained sales advisors.
"Our argument is that we want to give our customers choice. They can go to resellers if they want trained staff and support, but come to us if they want choice and excellent value."
Tesco press manager John Church told Macworld: "We purchased limited quantities of iMacs on the European grey market. They are on sale in around 100 of our larger Tesco Extra stores."
Tesco has acquired limited stocks of the now-discontinued iMac DV. Containing a 400MHz G3 processor, 64MB RAM, a 10GB hard drive and a FireWire port, the DV is effectively the same machine as the new entry-level iMac. AirPort-capable, the iMac is available in Indigo and Ruby. Its previous retail price was £799 (inc VAT).
The iMac will not feature as part of Tesco's regular product line-up and the deal is available only as long as stocks last, as part of the supermarket's WIGIG (when it's gone it's gone) initiative.
Tesco spokesman Russell Craig said: "We will do this again if we can lay our hands on the right stock at the right price."
Neither Apple's PR manager, David Millar, nor its UK Managing Director, Mark Rogers would comment on the story.