A bit of Apple gold dust is set to bring some bling to the technology distribution channel after Tech Data confirmed it will trial the sale of SIM-lock-free iPhones to dealers in Europe – but not in good old Blighty, it seems.
Yes, you read that correctly, people, the post-Jobsian empire continues to snub IT resellers operating in one of the biggest markets in the region, possibly due to pressure from telcos.
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To date Apple resellers in the UK have only been able to buy Jesus mobes with a SIM network lock – under contract with one of the UK telcos, which gave them £14 in return for their troubles.
Many haven't got involved for obvious reasons – they are in business to make money.
Tech Data confirmed that starting in Germany and France from this month it will begin a "pilot programme" to distribute the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5S, Phone 5C and accessories. The rollout to the initial distribution area will be "followed by other countries over the course of the month".
The problem is that those other markets do "not include the UK" a spokesman Tech Data UK confirmed to us, before adding he was unable to comment further.
This could change of course, but that seems to largely depend on whether Apple wants to break the current sales formula that fits well with the telco operators and its own branded stores.
In Europe, the telcos are understood to have less of a stranglehold on iPhone sales.
Resellers want to see Apple expand the pilot to arrive at these shores and one said he fully expected that to happen.
"The whole APR [Apple Premium Reseller] channel has been asking Apple to do this for years. My business could sell thousands alone," said one Apple loyalist.
The franchise comes to Tech Data Europe in time for the "key holiday season" said president Néstor Cano, who talked up the reasons why Apple chose it rather than its rivals to stock the kit.
"We have the right team, customer base and country coverage in place to grow our resellers' business significantly in both the consumer and commercial markets," said Cano.
The dominance of the iPad may be on the wane, but that said, Apple still shipped 14.1 million slabs in recent fiscal Q4, versus 14 million a year earlier. And, of course, it sold a record 33.8 million iPhones.
The Register notes that maybe Apple has a score to settle with the good folk of Blighty, after all, it was slapped down in the UK court over its mealy-mouthed apology to Samsung after accusing its Korean rival of infringing the iPad design with its slabs. at the time, Judge Robin Jacob reprimanded Apple for putting up an "incorrect" and "non-compliant" statement about the patent lawsuit and said it had 48 hours to publish a better one.
As you'll recall, Judge David read out our headline of our take on events, "Screw You Brits, everyone else says Samsung copied us" and said Apple needed to communicate more heartfelt regret. ®