Pascal Cagni, Apple’s European manager, told the International Herald Tribune that there are currently no plans for Apple retail stores in Europe although “we never say never.”
Still, Cagni said that Europe is “more important for us more than ever,” right now. He told the Tribune that Apple has around 1,500 people in eight locations, and that the European operation just launched a “small” R&D organization here. For instance, there are 200 Apple employees in Paris, 200 in London, and 400 telephone tech support people, he added. There’s also the Cork manufacturing plant in Ireland, but Cagni didn’t give a head count for that.
There’s another good reason why Apple needs to do well in Europe: it provides 20-25 percent of their total worldwide business in revenue, “with a very strong mix on the professional side,” Cagni said in the interview. The terrorists attacks of Sept. 11 has affected Apple’s European presence, most noticeably due to the cancellation of the Paris expo, which was expected to attract 60,000 to 80,000 folks, he said.
“But my team with our sales channels very quickly started to do their own ‘expos’ locally,” Cagni told the Tribune. “They had ‘open days,’ where people could visit their dealership locally and see the product, get the news. We’ve already confirmed there will be an Apple Expo here this year.”
Apple focuses on the education and creative markets in Europe, much as it does in the US, he said. They also concentrate on the small and medium business market and, of course, the consumer market. Regarding the latter, Cagni told the Tribune that he has high hopes for the new iMac.
“We can move the existing 35 percent of households in Europe that do have a PC to the next level,” he said. “Part of this 35 percent, you’ve got a lot of disappointed people. These are people who might go out and buy a digital camera tomorrow, or a camcorder, or a DVD player. None of them have yet seen the value added in linking them with a Mac. With the new iMac, I will have more first-time buyers and more Wintel switchers here in Europe by 10, 20 percent than the U.S. due to the saturation levels.”