Woes of distributing a popular product


/Rant on

So I do have to admit, I’m a bit of an Apple Fan Boy.  I try not to be, but the iPad has really changed the way I work (yes for the better) and I have a tendency to really respect a product that makes my work life better.  

So, when the iPad 2 came out, I was pretty excited.  Wasn’t 100% what I was hoping for, but there’s enough there, that I figured I’d get one personally, and we’d get a few for my work organization.

Here’s the problem/situation. 

I work for a University.  A big one.  

Apple is notorious for restricting sales into the Education vertical.  You have to follow certain channels.  

Fine.  I respect that.  Totally cool with that.

However, there’s a problem shaping up.

It seems the that on-campus store here is getting the shaft on new iPads.

It’s been a couple of weeks since the debut of the product, and by my count, the local retail store has received at least 5 or 6 shipments of the devices.  All of which have sold out faster than Charlie Sheen can say, “Duh, winning!”.

How many has the campus store received?  You guessed it.  Zero.

That’s disturbing on a variety of levels.

Apple has long enjoyed the support of the education market.  It portrays itself as strongly committed to the market, maybe more so than just about any other company. However, when it comes to the shinny new iPad,  it seems not so much.

I understand the need to milk a product (and a popular one) for all it’s worth.  Really, I do.  

However, to prevent large resellers (CDW for example) from selling into the ed vertical, and then openly ignoring on-campus stores in favor of the retail stores…Wow. 

That seems wrong.

Yes, you bet people at the university can go to the retail store and stand in line for a device.  However, I work for a medical organization.  I’ve got working physicians who are really excited about the iPad. They can’t go stand in line for hours on end in the hopes they’ll get a device.  Just isn’t going to happen.

Sure, I can send my staff to stand in line.  No problem.  They are happy to do that.  

Whoops.  Limit of two devices per person.  

So here’s my request.

Apple, please don’t continue to ignore the on-campus stores.  We are paying basically the same amount as the public in the retail stores.  Your products will still sell out.  But please think about the educational organizations that are looking for your products.  Don’t openly ignore the campus stores as the retail stores get shipment after shipment.  

It leaves a bad taste in the mouths of all the ed people that have supported your products for so long.

/rant off

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