37 years later, world's first Apple reseller to close its doors

Although Apple has a group of stores all its own, the company has a chain of resellers that are also authorized to sell and fix its products. And now, its oldest reseller is shuttering its doors.

FirstTech, a company once known as Team Electronics, will close its doors next week, the company confirmed to

• See also: Selling the Apple II: Three true stories

After nearly 37 years selling Apple's products as an authorized reseller, the company has decided that it can't keep profits high enough to justify keeping its doors open. The main culprit, the company … Read more

Probe into alleged Microsoft partner bribery hits Russia

Microsoft business partners in Russia and Pakistan are now being investigated by the US, a new report claims.

US investigators within the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission are reportedly investigating Microsoft's relationships with representatives and resellers who allegedly bribed foreign officials in return for lucrative contracts. It was previously believed that the US was solely investigating Microsoft's partners in Italy, China, and Romania. However, that investigation has extended to Russia and Pakistan, The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the investigation.

News of the possible investigation was made public in March, … Read more

Microsoft's game plan for E3 2013: Damage control

Microsoft's pre-E3 Xbox One reveal event in Redmond, Wash., wasn't a presentation targeted at gamers. In fact, most gamers hated it. Why? Because Microsoft used the opportunity to boast about the Xbox One's live TV integration and the seamless experience it will supposedly provide.

That mantra won't fly at E3 2013 in Los Angeles, where the priority is always games. The company teased with some details about what the Xbox One's gaming future will look like, but as of now it's still mostly unknown.

Here's a preview of what Microsoft needs to accomplish … Read more

Apple to triple its presence in India by 2015 -- report

Apple plans to dramatically expand the number of stores it'll allow to be opened in India over the next couple of years.

According to the India Times, Apple is planning to triple the number of "exclusive stores" in the country by 2015. The India Times' sources, who currently run some of Apple's exclusive stores, say that the iPad maker will have around 200 of those locations around India by 2015.

Apple operates its stores a bit differently in India than in, say, the U.S. In India, Apple has found 17 franchisees that operate stores that … Read more

It's all like-new on Mint Market

Mint Market is a mobile marketplace for preowned goods in mint or near-mint condition. Much like Craigslist, it covers everything from clothing to furniture to auto parts to event tickets, but what makes it uniquely useful, is that it focuses only on new or like-new products.

The first thing that struck me about Mint Market was its interface. While it may not be the most user-friendly thing in the world, it's certainly visually attractive. The Home screen features a long, vertical stream of listings, with each item displaying a large photo, name, and price. This layout makes it easy … Read more

The 404 1,005: Where the iPad HD is Hardly Different (podcast)

Extra-short show today to make room for this morning's Apple iPad HD coverage, but we'll quickly speculate about the deal-making features that would push us to run out and buy an iPad HD--we'll also talk about the possibility of a haptic feedback display, a new AppleCare+ program, and what sites you should use to sell your old tablet if you upgrade.… Read more

China Telecom to give the U.S. wireless business a shot

China Telecom wants to go where Walt Disney and ESPN couldn't: the U.S. wireless business.

The Chinese telecommunications provider wants to break into the U.S. market with its own service next year, the company told Bloomberg BusinessWeek. The company intends to go after Chinese Americans and tourists with its offer, which would provide one line for use in the U.S, and another that would work in China.

Rather than build its own network, it plans to lease capacity from another carrier, although the company declined to specify to Bloomberg who the potential partner would be. Traditionally, … Read more

You should wait online, not in line, for the iPhone 4S

With any new Apple iPhone or iPad, a logistical question emerges that bears considering: how do you buy it without enduring a line or a long wait time? The iPhone 4S goes on sale next week on October 14, and it's crossed my mind that my travails with both the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 weren't pretty. Resellers have recently been largely responsible for making the already challenging Apple Store lines an unbearable ordeal with products being sold out well before most people even knew they were back in stock.

In fact, I preordered an iPad 2 back in the spring, then canceled when I decided that the two-week wait time could be bettered by a quick trip to the Apple Store. I bet wrong, and spent two weeks calling Best Buys and searching message boards for a place that would have the iPad I wanted in stock.

Embarrassing, yes, but this was a common occurrence for many people during the first month or so of both the iPhone 4 and iPad 2's existence.

Related stories • Apple's next iPhone makes its debut • ZDNet: iPhone 4S is swell, but pricing is the killer app • Do Apple Stores need a better product reservation system? • Does the iPhone 4S need a redesign? • Apple iPhone 4S unveiled (roundup)

I have one simple suggestion, and it's hardly a shocker: take advantage of preorder. … Read more

Patagonia encourages selling its used gear on eBay

Unlike many companies that discourage the repair and reselling of items, outdoor gear retailer Patagonia has decided to not only tolerate, but even sanction the practice.

Patagonia announced today it's partnering with eBay to open a marketplace for the company's used products as part of its sustainability plan.

The online eBay store is called the Common Threads Initiative. It's open to any eBay sellers wishing to sell genuine Patagonia products. By signing on to a pledge, community sellers will be given a badge on their post and included under the store's umbrella, as well as promoted … Read more

Weeks later, iPhone 4 lines still huge

You'd think that, nearly two months after launch, post-antennagate, an iPhone 4 should be fairly easy to come by.

As recent reports have stated, the iPhone 4 seems to be sold out in a number of Apple stores, despite supplies that are constantly arriving. Apple's Web site states a three-week wait before new iPhone 4s are being shipped.

It's worse than that, I discovered. Not only is it hard to come by, but there are still lines nearly as long as they were on the original launch day, even on August 13. How can this be? … Read more