Apple opens a SmartPay virtual store

Apple opens a SmartPay virtual store

Apple Computer Inc. last week opened a portion of its online product store specifically for users of the General Services Administration's SmartPay credit card, and John MacKinnon, director of Apple federal sales, said it will carry 'a little bit of everything.'

The SmartPay store, an area of the site at store.apple.com, will discount systems 'in the $200 to $300 range,' MacKinnon said. For example, an 867-MHz Power Mac that lists for $2,499 would cost feds $2,299, including a free color printer until Oct. 14. Ground shipping for the time being is free.

Browser encryption protects the transactions, MacKinnon said, and federal customer data will be strictly secured and not used for promotion. The federal area carries a warning that not all the products 'are suitable for federal purchases.' Custom-configured system orders cannot be cancelled. Apple accepts returns only on unopened boxes it shipped in error; other sales are final. MacKinnon said a replacement policy covers any systems that are dead on arrival.

At a time when other computer makers such as Gateway Inc. are shutting down some operations, Apple has launched consumer stores in Boston, Glendale, Calif.; McLean, Va.; Minneapolis; Plano, Texas; and Schaumberg, Ill.

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