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11/29/2007
07:13 PM
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Work directly with Apple on hardware purchases. and save money too

There are more ways to buy Apple hardware and software  and get technical help with configuring what you need  than going through the Apple Web site and retail stores, or by purchasing through resellers like Amazon.com (no sales tax!) or other merchants.

There are more ways to buy Apple hardware and software  and get technical help with configuring what you need  than going through the Apple Web site and retail stores, or by purchasing through resellers like Amazon.com (no sales tax!) or other merchants.Apple offers a small business consulting service  you can get to it in the United States at (800) 654-3680. This week, I used the service to buy an Apple Xserve to use as an e-mail server.

Online, I specd out the machine as follows on the standard Apple Web store:

Xserve: Two 2.0GHz Dual-core Intel Xeon processors, 80GB SATA drive ($2,999) Increase to 4GB RAM ($699) Replace the 80GB drive with a 750GB drive ($499)

Subtotal: $4,197

Three-year AppleCare Premium Service ($950)

Total: $5,147

I had some technical questions regarding the integration of the box's Mac OS X Server 10.5.1 Leopard Server with a Windows Server 2003 primary domain controller (thats a conversation for another day), so before buying, I called the phone number above. That got me in touch with Andy, a SMB consultant, who instantly got an engineer on the line.

After running through everything to my satisfaction, Andy offered a custom quote for the Xserve. The prices he quoted were substantially lower across the board  $3,861 for the hardware, $903 for the AppleCare, for a total of $4,764. Andy got the sale.

By the way, Apple offers a special Apple Store for Business. Its prices are the same as the standard Web store, but it offers commercial financing options and other business-friendly offers. It's useful, but next time, I'm phoning for a quote.

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