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Apple Picks New Distributors

Apple has made its picks of wholesale distributors in Russia, ending uncertainty about further sales of iPhones and iPads on the market, a news report said Friday.

Merlion and diHouse will serve as conduits of the gadgets here, replacing all three major cell phone operators that pulled out of their deals with the U.S. computer maker, Kommersant reported.

An IT industry source said the decision had been made, Kommersant reported. Merlion chief Sergei Raskolov said the likelihood of his company to become an Apple wholesaler was “high.”

DiHouse chief Yury Rodny declined to comment, as did an Apple representative in Russia.

Mobile providers MTS, VimpelCom and MegaFon in 2008 signed up to sell 1.5 million iPhone handsets each, but the plans fell by the wayside. MegaFon ended its agreement in 2010, MTS in 2012, and VimpelCom last summer.

Merlion is hoping to supply Apple devices to such retailers as Svyaznoy, Evroset and MTS retail outlets.

“The sales forecast that we proposed to Apple coincided with the desire of the corporation,” Merlion's Raskolov said, declining to name the number.

Merlion is thought to be the country's largest distributor of computer equipment and electronics, having more than 200 distribution agreements in its portfolio, including with heavyweights like Samsung and Nokia.

DiHouse is part of major IT holding company Lanit.

Apple was reportedly in a rush to choose supply channels in Russia because it's about to start selling its new iPhone models, 5S and 5C. Raskolov said the new devices could hit the stores locally in November.

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