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Apple short-circuits Circuit City deal

An on-again, off-again relationship goes off again as the computer maker decides to stop selling Macs through the retail chain.

Apple Computer said Friday that it will no longer sell its Macs at Circuit City.

"We have mutually decided to go our separate ways," Circuit City spokesman Bill Cimino told CNET on Friday. "We will start selling through the inventory we currently have, either in our stores or distribution centers."

Apple has had an on-again, off-again relationship with Circuit City. Most recently, the Mac maker had been selling its consumer products--the iMac and iBook--at Circuit City, an arrangement that started in July 2000.

Although the companies did not comment on the reasons for the change, Apple for some time has been vowing to shake up its retail strategy. The company has been opening its own line of retail stores since last year and has also been placing Apple workers inside CompUSA. Last March, Apple stopped selling Macs at Sears.

In a January 2001 meeting with analysts, Apple Senior Vice President Tim Cook hinted that the company might sever ties with some retailers.

"We'll cut some channel partners that may not be providing the buying experience" Apple wants, Cook said at the time. "We're not happy with everybody."

Apple has changed retail strategies several times. The last big shake-up came in February 1998, when Apple announced it would pull out of Sears, Best Buy, Circuit City, Computer City and Office Max. However, Apple returned to Sears not long afterward and then later resumed selling at Circuit City.

Apple's most recent decision to break with Circuit City was reported earlier on Mac enthusiast site