Renaissance responds to Apple rumours

He has only been eleven days in the job, but Renaissance chief marketing officer Warwick Grey is fighting back on market speculation that Apple has picked Ingram Micro as a rival distributor.

“Why would you think going multi-distribution would be the right thing to do, we are delivering for Apple and growing market share,” he says.

Latest research on the personal computer market in the second quarter (April to June 2010) from IDC Research shows that for the first time Apple has achieved 11.1 percent market share for notebook and desktop unit shipments in New Zealand.

IDC Analyst Liam Gunson says the PC market was worth $291.5 million in Q2, compared to $240.4 million in the same period last year. HP remains as market leader at 36 percent market share, following by Acer. (The figures don’t include the iPad, which went on sale in July and which Grey says are selling “in the thousands”).

Grey says Renaissance is signed up as Apple’s distributor in a two-year deal that isn’t exclusive, but they haven’t been told of a rival distributor. “We assume that our CEO will be the first to be notified,” he says.

Renaissance has been Apple’s distributor for 25 years, but Grey says it hasn’t been an exclusive relationship since Apple opened its own store in 2006. The following year it made deals with JB Hi-Fi, Dick Smith to sell Apple products and with Vodafone to sell the iPhone.

“It is not right to even suggest we are exclusive distributors, we are not and haven’t been for ages,” he says. “So in terms of our response to another distributor, well we can’t comment on that. When you hear about it, you’ll hear about it from Apple.”

Ingram Micro and Apple have to date not commented publically on the speculation.

Changes

Grey says that ever since it lost its exclusivity deal, Renaissance has sought ways to diversify the company. The company's focus is now on bringing together disparate business units in areas such as education and training, and developing iPad and iPhone applications.

As part of that change Grey is planning a major rebranding campaign to launch a new name yoobee. He is working with two branding companies on a global strategy. He says the tagline for yoobee is “whatever you imagine” and is about offering product, services and training support.

The company recently announced a new managment team for direct sales that will work in competition with its own channel partners, when it comes to new business. Grey says there will be a deal registration system. “If a channel partner has a deal they register with us and we would never compete. If a government department came to us and said ‘we want your Mac expertise to help our department, we don’t have a relationship with a Macintosh reseller’, then we would pursue that aggressively.”

Revolving door

Changes at Renaissance have prompted a number of high profile resignations from long-standing staff members, which has in turn raised eyebrows in both the reseller and user communities, but Grey claims those who have left “didn’t see the vision”.

“They [were] not embracing change, whereas we’ve been brought in to drive that change.”

He says CEO Richard Webb has a flat management structure with 12 direct reports in a company of around 400 staff. Here are some of the new people in senior roles (not all report directly to Webb).

Chief marketing officer – Warwick Grey (formerly HP)

Director direct sales – Lynne Stephens (formerly HP)

Enterprise direct sales – Victoria Cotton (formerly HP)

Communications manager – Joanna Burgess (formerly HP)

General manager, Apple division – Guy McKee

Head of network and security – Chris Knox

Head of distribution (resellers for 52 brands) – Brett Hjorth (formerly Kyocera)

Head of education direct sales – Ross Fodie (formerly Equico)

Head of appliances and peripherals – Rachel Hall (formerly Telecom)

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