Best Buy, the largest retailer of consumer electronics in the United States, has started selling Macs from Apple Computer once again in seven U.S. retail stores as part of a test to determine whether it will continue to offer the machines from the Cupertino, Calif.-based computer giant, the Associated Press reports via the San Jose Mercury News.
Though Best Buy did offer Apple’s Mac computers in its stores until 1998, it currently sells only iPod digital music players and related accessories, according to the Mercury News. The company stopped selling Apple computers because of poor sales, shortly after Apple decided not to offer its computers in any retail stores and to open up its own shops, of which it now has some 130 in the United States, the Mercury News reports.
Best Buy is in the process of deciding whether to offer Apple’s full line of computers throughout all of its 754 U.S. retail stores, and it has been running tests for this purpose for about a month, the Mercury News reports.
Apple specially trained a number of Best Buy employees who work in the seven stores where its computers are being offered to address the past lack of specialized customer service, according to the Mercury News. Sales of Apple computers at retail stores were hindered in the past by the fact that most people were familiar with Microsoft’s Windows operating system and not Apple’s Mac OS, so potential customers required a higher level of attention than people looking to purchase a PC.
Apple would be wise to be wary. It’s attempting to build its market share in the U.S. computer space, and it would likely sell many computers via Best Buy, but those sales could cannibalize sales at its own retail stores.