The Great Apple shortage of 2003

While Apple is boasting about impressive sales of many of its new models, its dealer channel is wondering when it might be able to sell them.

Apple dealers from all corners of the country are finding it difficult to get their hands on popular models of Powerbooks, G5s and iPods.

With shipment delays creating backlogs, some resellers have reported losing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cancelled orders.

The Mac1 Group has seen supplies of the full range of Apple product constrained to “dribs and drabs,” said group managing director Ken Hogg. “Powerbooks are the major problem, ever since they were announced,” he said.

The limited supply of 15-inch Powerbooks and iPods had been a problem for Apple’s largest reseller chain, Next Byte, for much of the year, according to director Adam Steinhardt.

Looking towards the year’s retail peak in December, Apple Centre Taylor Square’s managing director, Ben Morgan, warned that Apple had to look to its supply chain.

“If my targets fall back, if I’m losing money because of their supply issues, they’ve got questions to answer," he said.

Apple Centre Taylor Square had exited the last quarter with $350,000-worth of Apple’s 2-Gig G5 models on back order, said Morgan. Back orders of laptops were “equally enormous,” he said. “We have customers who are cancelling orders.”

While Apple’s supply chain problems had been “pretty appalling”, K H Distribution managing director, Keith Rice, said the vendor “was trying to improve.”

Apple Australia declined to comment on this story.

For more on this story, see this week’s ARN.

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