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Apple Specialist was an independent Apple Inc. reseller based in the United States or Canada which offered its line of hardware and software, service, and support for branded products, and was designated as Specialist by the manufacturer. In 2016, Apple introduced a Premier Partner designation and began phasing out the Specialist designation.
An Apple Reseller befriended Dr. Gil Amelio, then CEO of Apple, and recommended that they form a reseller channel designation. Dr. Amelio assigned Paddy Wong and Loretta Flores of Apple the task of designing the program, with input from a few resellers. The original scope was fairly small, but only included resellers who mainly sold Apple products and not competitors.
Apple rolled out the Apple Specialist Program in December 1996. It continued under that name through now.
Before the introduction of Apple retail stores, the Specialist resellers, typically locally owned small businesses, were primary contributors to retail sales channel and user support for the computer manufacturer among other Apple-authorized resellers and Value-added resellers.
Apple Specialists qualify as Apple-authorized resellers and service providers and, additionally, maintain a higher minimum of Apple product sales while limiting sales of competing products. They are owned and managed independently, choosing their own business focus from among retail, business-to-business, professional and vertical markets.
In 2004, members of Apple's Reseller Advisory Board formed the Apple Specialist Marketing Coop (ASMC). Since that time ASMC has grown to include more than 160 members.
- Apple Specialist section from Apple's website
- Apple Specialist website, developed independently by ASMC
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