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Long-time Apple reseller closes its doors


After 16 years of servicing the Macintosh faithful in Northern California, Apple reseller, MACadam Computer, has closed its doors.

Store owner Tom Santos said the decision to close his San Francisco, Calif.-based shop was based on several factors, including a rapidly deteriorating relationship with Apple Computer and increased competition from Apple's new retail division. In a letter to customers, he also referenced "bad behavior" by Apple as one of the main reasons leading to his decision.

"They have made it so difficult to both get product in a timely fashion and treat our customers with the respect that they currently treat their Apple Direct customers," Santos said. "We have tried everything to resolve these problems over the last 4 plus years, yet our requests for help have simply gone unanswered."

Santos, who two years ago joined several other resellers in a lawsuit to charge Apple with breach of contract and fraud, reiterated his belief that independent Apple dealers are good for Apple and its customers.

"When your only choice is but one, you will no longer have the option," he said. "We are not the first to close, and unfortunately we will not be the last. I love [Apple's] product and software, but I have an incredible distrust of the company."

According to Santos, the lawsuit — which also lists five other Apple resellers as plaintiffs — is close to being assigned a trial date. Last month the band of resellers appointed new attorneys with a background in franchisee litigation to help press the suit. The new lead counsel is David Franklin, of San Diego, who litigated a similar suit in the early 1980s against the company that authorized FotoMat franchises. Another San Diego attorney and one from Tennessee also have also joined the case, replacing Marcus Merchasin, of San Francisco, who filed the original lawsuit in 2003.

In 1991, two years after it first opened, MACadam was authorized by Apple as a Distributor Value Added Reseller (VAR), and by 1996 had earned an invite to become a charter member of the Apple Specialist Program — an Apple-initiated program aimed at recognizing resellers which have taken extensive measures to bring their customers the most enjoyable Apple experience possible.

For over a decade as an Apple Authorized Reseller, MACadam experienced significant growth in sales of Apple products. But in 2003, Apple retaliated to the MACadam's lawsuit by de-authorizing the store as an official Apple reseller. A year later, Apple opened its flagship retail store in downtown San Francisco— virtually drying up sales of neighboring stores. Santos said the new Apple retail store caused both his Apple and third-party sales numbers to drop by over 80% at the nearby MACadam store.

Prior to founding MACadam, Santos spent a year working at Radius Inc. before moving on to MacUser magazine, where he spent another 18 months involved in the testing, review and coordination of all lab reports.

Speaking to AppleInsider, Santos said that despite his decision to close, he absolutely plans to press forth with his suit against Apple, and hopes the judge will soon assign a date for trial. His store, which employed 30, will remain in its current location at 1062 Folsom Street for the unforeseeable future, he said, and will likely host a liquidation sale within the next month.

"The Mac has brought us more than 20 years of the most incredible enjoyment that one could ever hope for," said Santos. "I have been lucky, blessed and so fortunate to have been able to touch so many peoples lives and made a difference. Think Different wasn't just an advertising campaign for Apple, but it was a way of life for all of the independent dealers out there."