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Thursday, November 09, 2006, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Briefly: Apple outage, retail meeting, 17-inch MBP

An outage affecting its online store on Wednesday likely cost Apple a pretty penny. Meanwhile, the company is reported to have dropped its retail employee bonus structure and then commissioned a meeting of store managers in Calif. Finally, it appears the wait for the new 17-inch MacBook Pros will continue.

Apple's multimillion dollar blunder

Apple on Wednesday experienced a technical issue with its US-based online store, resulting in a lengthy outage that likely cost the company several million dollars in sales.

After taking the store offline around 8:00 am eastern time to prepare for the launch of its new 13-inch Core 2 Duo MacBook notebooks, Apple was unable return the store to operation until early afternoon.

The outage, which lasted about four and a half hours, is unlikely to have a material impact on the company's financials. However, it should be noted that approximately 50 percent of Apple's revenues these days are generated through its direct sales channels, of which its online store is the major component.

Retail bonus out the window

It looks like Apple's retail segment is expecting tremendous performance this holiday quarter and may have done away with its employee bonus structure as a result.

According to reports, last quarter marked the end of its "Million Dollar Club," which awarded retail reps with a $500 cash bonus if they managed to garner over $500,000 in sales. Instead, Apple is said to have raised slightly the hourly wage it pays some of its retail store employees.

The aforementioned move may have been a point on the agenda at a recently orchestrated meeting between Apple retail executives and store managers. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company is reported to have flown in some of its retail store managers to San Diego where it likely discussed preparations for the holiday shopping season blitz.

17-inch MacBook Pro builds delayed

As reported in Wednesday's edition of AppleInsider, Apple has for one reason or another been unable to make good on promised delivery times for its new 17-inch MacBook Pros.

Instead of shipping notifications, customers who ordered the new flagship Apple notebooks received an automated email from the company's online store this week, informing them of an additional week delay related to their orders.

One AppleInsider correspondent with a bulk order for the new notebooks at stake did some additional digging. He was informed through his Apple channel that the company did not foresee manufacturing ramp of the new models beginning for at least another week.

There's still no word on the exact cause of the delay.