Mac Mini launch could be big wedge for business sales

Apple Canada is using this weekend’s launch of the low-price Mac Mini to push its resellers into going after business markets.

“It’s going to help you get in the door at all sorts of prices,” Willi Powell, the division’s strategic development manager, said Apple VARs are being told, “but don’t

walk away from a deal with [just] the Mac Mini. Try and get into infrastructure with the Xserve and XServe RAID and servicing the customers.”

As part of the push the company will expand a program of reseller business seminars its been holding for Toronto-area resellers to educate them on corporate needs. Likely cities will be Calgary and Vancouver, he said. The seminars already run informally in Montreal.

The Mini Mac, to debut in Canada on Jan. 29, is a diminutive all-white machine roughly the size of a hardback book. With a base price of $629 for a unit with 256MB of memory and a 40GB hard drive — without a monitor, keyboard or mouse — Apple believes it will lure both home buyers and small businesses.

Powell refused to give Apple’s sales expectations.

“We see it as a fantastic home computer that’ll connect into HD-ready displays,” he said, “but we also see it as a great way to go back into businesses that haven’t considered the Mac in a while and offer a computer that can lower their cost structure.”

But resellers “are going to have to get out front and qualify.”

The channel’s goal should be “to focus on high-margin products” such as Apple servers and storage, he said. At the same time, resellers can push their networking expertise.

Every business needs accounting, productivity and marketing applications, he added.

Target markets selected by Apple include home offices, doctors, lawyers, and retail stores.

However, in a recent report an industry analyst cautioned that to be widely adopted by business the Mac Mini needs more software tailored for that market.

“Although the Mac Mini will not cause a significant shift away from the PC,” wrote Martin Reynolds of Gartner, “it will enable Apple to re-enter the homes of consumers who only own PCs, and will likely keep the Mac interesting to those few businesses that do use them.”

There’ll be no Canadian marketing splash: Apple is relying on the positive (and free) media reports that came out when the Mini was announced recently at Macworld.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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