The days of medium-sized technology retailers are numbered, according to Max Wright, founder of Multiple Zones.
Wright says: "I think the writing is on the wall for mid-range retailers. You have to be small and niche-orientated, or grow."
Cancom is the largest Apple reseller in Germany, with a major presence in every European territory. The combined firms enjoy a turnover of over £90 million.
Remember we’re all different Wright is positive about the future of Apple Europe’s distribution, as long as it remembers a few rules. He says: "Apple in Europe will be fine if the company remembers that each of the separate European markets are very different. If they ignore that fact, they’ll screw it up, I think. It will work if they continue to understand and respect the difference.
"Apple needs a big player in Europe. We will build an international business, with local agents in each area."
Andy Brown, of International Data Corporation (IDC), agrees, he says: "Apple is one of the few US vendors that seem to remember that Europe is made up of multiple countries - all with different languages, and different channels."
Positive feeling Wright feels the consumer will benefit from the Cancom deal, he says: "In terms of buying and marketing power, it’s very positive."
However, Wright added there are problems for Apple consumers. He claims: "The rumours about problems with Apple inventory are true. There was one point in the last year when PowerBooks were in extremely short supply. A few hundred came in, and, because we had the cash, we were able to buy nearly all of them." Like many UK retailers, Wright also confirmed a dip in recent iMac sales.
Looking to the future, Multiple Zones will adopt a hybrid-marketing model, like that exploited by Cancom. Cancom has twelve regional offices in Germany with a central mail-order hub that services them.
Wright also speculated about Apple’s retail strategy, he claims: "Apple has always insisted that you either be a retailer or mail order supplier. We believe Apple will adapt over the next year." Cancom/Multiple Zones will also set up Apple Video centres, where consumers can see Apple’s video solutions in action. Stock will not be held at these centres, but they will take orders and goods will be supplied from the central hub.