Comment: Will Apple sell direct?

Apple's interim CEO Steve Jobs will ask the company to "think different" on Monday when he is expected to announce a plan to sell PCs direct as well as announce a new CEO. At least he may do.

Apple's interim CEO Steve Jobs will ask the company to "think different" on Monday when he is expected to announce a plan to sell PCs direct as well as announce a new CEO. At least he may do. After terminating licensing deals for its Mac OS, trimming down US distribution and setting-up "a shop within a shop" with giant retailer CompUSA, the company is looking as though it is ploughing-up its old earth to lay new foundations.

Although Umax is the only company to retain its licensing deal - this may not mean much after the company shifted towards a Wintel platform this month - Apple has shown in the past few months a strong urge to ditch many of the policies of former CEO Gil Amelio. The move to a direct model would not be a massive shock as the company appears to have been edging this way anyway. Merisel, Tech Data and Inacom have already been elbowed leaving just Ingram Micro and MicroAge to sell Apple kit outside of the US. Apple is also expected to set up an online shop to sell direct to consumers, following in the image of Dell.

The US will therefore be Apple's seed bed for a worldwide direct sales model. Jobs has already said that Monday's announcement would be "milestone news as part of the company's aggressive efforts to think different." Jobs will unveil changes "not only to the product line, but to the way the company does business."

Rumours that Oracle will buy Apple are also being touted as part of Monday's announcement, although sources suggest that this is unlikely. There may be truth in these rumours but if this is a probability, any likely deal may not emerge just yet. In the meantime, Apple dealers may have a sweaty weekend waiting for Monday's news.

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