Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Don't expect to find Macs, iPhones or iPads at Staples

February 20, 2013: 11:41 AM ET

The tweets that launched a score of news stories may have been premature

383070002193FORTUNE -- The Street's Rocco Pendola was tearing his shoulder-length locks Wednesday morning in a piece titled I'm Worried About Apple. Again. And You Should Be, Too. The thrust of his story: Tim Cook is diluting the precious Apple (AAPL) brand by allowing its products to be sold by retailers associated with, in his word, "mediocrity."

Pendola mentions BestBuy (BBY), Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT). Apparently he didn't get the memo about Staples (SPLS).

The story is this: At the end of last week, several mid-level Staples executives tweeted excitedly that Apple's products were coming to the 2,000-store strong office supply chain.

"After Canada, #Apple products are coming to #Staples in US. Great news!" wrote a senior vice president.

"Staples just finalized a deal to begin selling Apple products #finally," tweeted a field service manager.

"Thanks #Apple for letting #Staples sell you...oh, and for the delicious apple products to celebrate" wrote a senior accounts coordinator, adding for emphasis in another tweet the hashtag #truestory.

Not quite so true after all. Although a couple dozen news outlets dutifully reported that Staples was going carry Apple's product line, customers hoping to get a nice discount there on a Mac, iPad or iPhone are going to be disappointed.

According to a source in a position to know, only select Staples outlets are involved (at least at the outset), and they will be carrying only Apple accessories, Apple TV set-top boxes and perhaps some iPods.

Computers, tablets and smartphones are definitely not part of the deal.

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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