Apple is bypassing the channel to sell the forthcoming Lion OS directly to biz customers in yet another blow to its beleaguered partner base, resellers have claimed.
Corporate enterprises and education users will be able to purchase a minimum of 20 volume licenses for Lion directly at the Mac App Store via iTunes, in a move away from traditional boxed products.
Business customers wanting to upgrade to Lion will be provided with a redemption code and subsequent installer to copy to each of their Macs.
Robert Peckham, Apple channel consultant at dealer group CompTIA, told The Register that in cutting resellers out of the loop the vendor had been able to hit more aggressive price points in the region of £20 to £25.
"This is of no benefit to the reseller but Apple claimed that it couldn't achieve the same price points if Lion OS was boxed and sold through the channel," he said.
The US giant may have a loyal and growing base of fans but its attitude to partners is often branded as arrogant, and a number of Premium resellers did not want to criticise the company openly.
"As far as I am aware, it will only be available in the App Store. I'm pissed off because [previously] we have sold thousands of copies of the OS on release. It's another nail in the coffin from Apple," said one.
Another said he was still unclear about about its role in the new OS: "We are still waiting for clarity from Apple, it would help if Apple told loyal partners what is happening rather than leaving us in the dark."
On the upside, Peckham at CompTIA said that although members will not make a margin on the OS, they would inevitably be called upon to help biz customers install Lion and sort out any application compatibility glitches that may result, instead of relying on Apple's web-based tech support.
Apple was unavailable to comment. ®