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Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 03:35 pm PT (06:35 pm ET)

Apple finally offers complete iPod, Mac lineups to India

Apple Inc. has struck a deal that will for the first time put every one of its computers and portable media players on the shelves of Indian stores, closing a years-long gap in the company's international business.

PC business Wipro Infotech confirmed on Wednesday that it has negotiated with Apple to bring all of the latter's internationally available products to the Asian country, including rarer items such as the Xserve and Xserve RAID.

A specialized team is simultaneously being formed to help market Apple's devices to small, medium, and enterprise businesses, Wipro said. At least some support for the devices would also be handled by the large IT company.

The deal between the two firms brings India's range up to par with most other countries for the first time in several years. The Indian distributor had previously agreed to sever its links with Apple during the Mac maker's rapid decline in 1997, when Wipro's profits from Apple products were less and less beneficial to its bottom line.

Apple's resurgence in recent years has seen a similar return to health for its Indian business. In March of last year, the company announced that it would begin selling some key iPod and Mac models through local resellers in the country, but until now had refrained from opening up its entire catalog to the country's booming economy.

No direct Apple sales are planned for the country, however. The company's official online store for the nation remains browse-only and lists products as well as pricing, but won't let customers order from the website.

Wipro itself says it welcomes the return to its role as a preferred partner.

"We are extremely pleased to partner with Apple, which is well known for its innovative products and solutions," says Wipro PC division VP Ashutosh Vaidya. "Coupled with Wipro’s proven marketing and support infrastructure, this will offer the customers significantly higher value for their investments."