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Monday, November 03, 2003, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Apple Ends Relationship with MarketSource

Apple has indefinitely ended its long-standing relationship with MarketSource, AppleInsider has learned. MarketSource specializes in results-driven marketing solutions and merges talent and experience to help businesses build consumer loyalty, value and trust.

For years, Apple has contracted MarketSource to perform numerous tasks and analysis for its retail sales division, including placement of Apple Representatives at retail locations such as Fry's Electronics and MicroCenters. Effective last Friday, Apple representatives in such locations will be no more.

As a direct result of the aforementioned personnel cuts, Apple Demo Days at Fry Electronics, MicroCenters, and other non-Apple staffed retail outlets, will will cease to exist unless the computer company reinitiates the program. CompUSA locations are said to be unaffected by the move and will continue to included badged Apple employees that work with staff and customers.

This news comes on the verge of several new Apple Retail Store openings and just weeks prior to the start of the holiday shopping season. "It is difficult to believe this will happen in time for the holiday buying season," one insider said. "Apple customers' buying experiences are about to change for the worse. Potential switchers, or other people on the fence about an Apple purchase, will possibly be redirected to products that traditionally carry bigger spiffs for the sales people."

According to statistics, when Apple demo representatives have been removed from retail locations, sales of Apple products have dropped over 50 percent. Apple has reportedly blamed the termination of the program on cost cutting.

Representatives from both companies were unavailable for comment.