Tech Industry

Best Buy quits selling Mac boxes

Best Buy says it will no longer sell Macintosh computers at its 284 stores, citing intense competition in the PC market.

Retailer Best Buy (BBY) announced today that it will no longer stock Apple computers on its shelves after it runs out of its existing inventory.

A spokesperson for the electronics superstore said it will continue to honor Apple warranties and sell Apple software titles.

According to Best Buy, Apple computer sales represent half a percent of its total computer sales. Apple sales comprised roughly $4.2 million of the retailer's third-quarter performance.

Apple spokesperson Rhonda Hamilton said the decision to cease selling Apple computers was mutual, and was reached after weeks of discussion.

"We are phasing out our relationship. We have different focuses," Hamilton said, noting that Apple is concentrating on its education and publishing niches, instead of on the home users that Best Buy targets.

Hamilton also said that, in the future, Apple wants to spend more of its resources on its presence in CompUSA stores. Under the terms of a deal struck last November, CompUSA will dedicate space in its computer superstores to Apple products, creating a "store within a store."

Jimmy Johnson, an analyst with AG Edwards, said other retailers may follow Best Buy's move and step away from selling Macintosh computers.

He added that Apple's presence in major retail stores--aside from CompUSA--is minor and, as a result, discontinuing sales of Apple hardware may not make much of a difference to the bottom lines of brick-and-mortar stores.

Today's announcement comes as Apple's worldwide market share drops to its lowest levels ever, down to 3.1 percent worldwide in 1997, from 5.2 percent.

In related Apple news, subsidiary Claris yesterday announced a restructuring that includes 300 layoffs and a decision to fold its Mac operating system sales, as well as its suite of Claris applications software, into Apple.