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Apple Bans Online Sales In Japan

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the bricks-are-our-friends-and-mortar-too dept.

Businesses 237

siddesu writes "Large retail stores in Japan were ordered a week ago to stop selling Apple products online (Google translation; Japanese original). The comments in the Japanese business newspapers suggest that Apple believes online shopping confers an aura of 'cheapness' on its products; but surely killing the Apple store's competition must have entered into the calculation. As of today, most of the largest retailers have notices on their Apple catalog pages asking you to visit the shop if you want to acquire a piece of magic. It seems that for the moment the campaign is aimed at the big fish, as smaller shops still seem to be selling Apple products."

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237 comments

1st post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010182)

Yay!!!

Re:1st post (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010678)

FUCK APPLE!

What next? (4, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010210)

If I own a company and sell a product to another company, I don't have any realistic expectation to control what that company does. My part of the business deal has concluded.

Seriously Apple. Get real.

Re:What next? (5, Informative)

e4g4 (533831) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010260)

You have to sign a lot of papers to sell new Apple products at retail.

So tell me, (3, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010604)

When, oh when, will we all wake up and give Jobs the title he so sorely deserves?

Der Führer!

Re:So tell me, (3, Informative)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010684)

Its actually standard. Book publishers want to give you a product early with the understanding you don't break the street date so that EVERYONE can start selling the product on the official release date.

Adding additional qualifiers is only the next logical step.

Re:What next? (1)

psiclops (1011105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011042)

yep, i dunno how it is with other telco's, but i work for Telstra and by apple mandate only employess that have gone through "iPhone training" training are allowed to sell iPhones, so if someone rang up to upgrade their plan to something involving an iPhone, they'd have to be transferred to the iPhone department.

Re:What next? (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010270)

If I own a company and sell a product to another company, I don't have any realistic expectation to control what that company does. My part of the business deal has concluded.

Seriously Apple. Get real.

If the company you sold it to does something you don't want them to, you can choose to no longer sell to them. This is very common in the game console business as well as many others, including the conputer business. That's why consoles always cost the same everywhere, and why online stores sometimes make you add an item to your cart before it will show you the price.

Re:What next? (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010598)

and why online stores sometimes make you add an item to your cart before it will show you the price.

and then you remove the item from your cart because it is almost twice the price of a competitor with a similar product and quality.

Re:What next? (2, Interesting)

txoof (553270) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010920)

If the company you sold it to does something you don't want them to, you can choose to no longer sell to them. This is very common in the game console business as well as many others, including the conputer business. That's why consoles always cost the same everywhere, and why online stores sometimes make you add an item to your cart before it will show you the price.

Isn't that called price fixing? As I recall, Nintendo has gotten in to hot water [bbc.co.uk] for this at least once. I think a manufacturer can set an MSRP, but the seller can sell your item for whatever they want. Can a company choose to not fill orders for businesses that don't play by their rules, or is that some form of discrimination?

Re:What next? (4, Informative)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011242)

Isn't that called price fixing? As I recall, Nintendo has gotten in to hot water [bbc.co.uk] for this at least once. I think a manufacturer can set an MSRP, but the seller can sell your item for whatever they want. Can a company choose to not fill orders for businesses that don't play by their rules, or is that some form of discrimination?

this has nothing to do with price fixing - price fixing is an antitrust offense. Like if Dell, HP, and Sony got together in a secret lair and said, "We won't sell any laptops for less than $600. muhaha!" That would be price fixing.

As for your question, yes- there are tons of companies that won't sell product to you on your terms. From Apple only selling 2 iPads per person, to Canon not providing product to unfavored camera stores.

Re:What next? (3, Interesting)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011604)

Actually, both are price fixing, and illegal in my country (France). When a manufacturer advertises prices, the small type reads "price generally seen in most stores" or some much, because manufacturers can't enforce pricing through resellers, and thus can't assume their "recommended" prices will stick. Actually, "recommending" a price is frowned upon. IIRC, Apple has a clever way to enforce uniform pricing anyway.

In the same way, several competitors can't get together to agree on prices indeed.

Re:What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011860)

In the same way, several competitors can't get together to agree on prices indeed.

Yeah, that's because that *is* price fixing. GP is correct, you're a stupid frog.

Re:What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011132)

and why online stores sometimes make you add an item to your cart before it will show you the price.

Good thing that's illegal here (Germany, maybe even Europe as a whole). Always makes US shops look shady in my opinion.

Re:What next? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010308)

If I own a company and sell a product to another company, I don't have any realistic expectation to control what that company does. My part of the business deal has concluded.

Get real and read the fine print on the contract for sale simpleton!

Re:What next? (2, Insightful)

dark_requiem (806308) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010332)

It's called the First Sale Doctrine [wikipedia.org]

Re:What next? (4, Insightful)

lxs (131946) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010916)

I forgot. Is Japan the 53d or 52nd state of the US? Or doesn't US law apply in Japan?

Re:What next? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011188)

Sure, under first sale doctrine Apple can't insist that those other companies must stop their mail order sales of any stock they are already in possession of. But Apple can decline to sell them any further stock.

Brand name manufacturers having conditions on how their distributors sell their products is not unusual.

Re:What next? (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011922)

The First Sale doctrine only applies to Copyrights. It has nothing to do with the issue here, which basically is Apple trying to muscle retailers into selling their products in a certain way.

Re:What next? (4, Insightful)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010670)

Obviously you aren't in retail/e-commerce. This is unfortunately pretty common behavior from manufacturers. They just don't really want to sell their product. One of the manufacturers I deal with went bankrupt while sending me cease and desist letters for selling to many of their products. Doh.

Re:What next? (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010696)

If I own a company and sell a product to another company, I don't have any realistic expectation to control what that company does. My part of the business deal has concluded. Seriously Apple. Get real.

Are you suggesting Apple did that only in their imagination? It seems pretty real to me. If you own a store, and Apple sent you a kind message "please don't sell online, or you we won't sell you any more goods"... what would you do?

Re:What next? (1, Flamebait)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011256)

If I own a company and sell a product to another company, I don't have any realistic expectation to control what that company does. My part of the business deal has concluded.

That is simply not true. A lot of luxury, expensive goods are very restricted by their manufacturers. Apple is trying to position itself alongside Ferraris and Rolexes.

official apple store? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010218)

omg frist!
I wonder if they stop selling via the apple store too!

News of the day (4, Insightful)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010238)

Apple is screwing others over... nothing to see here move along.

Is it just me or has Apples attitude have gone down the gutters since Steve Jobs has returned from his sick leave.
It is not like they did not pull evil stunts before, but it has become way worse.

Re:News of the day (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010296)

Oh, please do explain how this is "evil".

Re:News of the day (5, Informative)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010436)

What, banning online sales to force people to buy at retail (and likely from Apple Stores)? It's at least an anti-consumer move.

Re:News of the day (0, Flamebait)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010652)

What, banning online sales to force people to buy at retail (and likely from Apple Stores)? It's at least an anti-consumer move.

I seem to have missed the part where you explain how this is evil.

Re:News of the day (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010686)

I think it's one of most responsible things Apple has done. It ensures that they'll be peddling less of their crap to less people and perhaps they'll just go crawl in some corner and finally die like every technically competent person has wanted them to do for decades.

Re:News of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011134)

die like every technically competent person has wanted them to do for decades

Why? I know there's a lot of people that think that the Mac OS is for noobs, but those people know nothing about mac's. Let me count the many things my grandma doesn't care about:
  • A unix core [apple.com]
  • Bash
  • Ruby, perl and python (and other utilities like apache, ssh, etc)
  • Automator and services (services are new for 10.6 but they existed in a not that great way before)
  • Folder Actions
  • Applescript (and many apps both from apple and 3rd party with applescript support for scripting)

Those are just on top of my head, I think I'm missing some. On top of that, there are some things that my grandma and some geeks might like like timemachine, spotlight, etc, etc.

Re:News of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011230)

Yada, yada.. So, they ripped of FreeBSD and Linux..

Re:News of the day (1)

Antiocheian (859870) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010814)

You were not meant to [wikipedia.org]. Understanding his point requires ability to freely criticize Apple.

Re:News of the day (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010858)

Understanding my point requires the ability to read this thread.

Re:News of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010902)

You had a point?

Re:News of the day (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011076)

That image you linked...
"Description: Clydesdales. The horse in the background looks jealous that hes not in front."
WTF?!

Although, I suppose I'd be "jealous", too, if I had to pull a $VEHICLE all day and had nothing to see but a horse's arse. By jealous, I mean seriously pissed off. Next time it was my turn in front, I'd eat a couple bowls of Mom's awesome chili. >:)

Re:News of the day (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011294)

What, banning online sales to force people to buy at retail (and likely from Apple Stores)? It's at least an anti-consumer move.

I seem to have missed the part where you explain how this is evil.

Of course, if this was Microsoft, then no such explanation would be necessary.

Re:News of the day (1)

imjustmatthew (1164609) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010370)

Apple has been on a monopolistic roll lately. I wonder how many sharks at the DOJ are sharpening their teeth? An antitrust case against Apple would really be fun to watch - all those fanboys squirming.

Re:News of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010470)

Except the only thing Apple has a monopoly on is Apple products, which isn't a monopoly so there is no anti-trust case. Feel free to purchase other branded computers, phones and portable music players.

Re:News of the day (1)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010698)

IANAL - but you can make the same argument for Microsoft or Google - for antitrust cases its seems to be mostly about market share. Once/if apple gets enough market-share then they will get visits from the DOJ too.

Re:News of the day (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010892)

IANAL - but you can make the same argument for Microsoft or Google - for antitrust cases its seems to be mostly about market share. Once/if apple gets enough market-share then they will get visits from the DOJ too.

That is the point that Anonymous was making

Re:News of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010702)

Except the only thing Apple has a monopoly on is Apple products, which isn't a monopoly so there is no anti-trust case. Feel free to purchase other branded computers, phones and portable music players.

me too

Re:News of the day (0, Flamebait)

piquadratCH (749309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011030)

An antitrust case against Apple would really be fun to watch - all those fanboys squirming.

Fanboys wouldn't be the only ones squirming. Imagine how the inflated stock price [yahoo.com] of AAPL would collapse if an antitrust case with chances of success would be made against Apple.

Re:News of the day (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011012)

It's the donor pancreas. It's secreting ... evil.

its not the real Jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011168)

the aliens landed and took him away and have replaced him wiht there new nazi style version that obeys hollywood and Obama-ites

Re:News of the day (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011312)

Is it just me or has Apples attitude have gone down the gutters since Steve Jobs has returned from his sick leave.

No, they were always like this.

They're just trying figure out how much you'll will take.

Apple feels strong and is showing its true colors (4, Insightful)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011946)

Apple is screwing others over... nothing to see here move along.

Is it just me or has Apples attitude have gone down the gutters since Steve Jobs has returned from his sick leave.
It is not like they did not pull evil stunts before, but it has become way worse.

I said this years ago (it is probably archived in more than one slashdot comment somewhere), but it bears repeating:

Steve Jobs is a Bill Gates wannabe. His illness (and his return) has changed nothing. What has changed is that he has the confidence of his market position, and is now showing his true colors.

What I said (back in the early naughties IIRC): Apple's behavior historically has been that of a company aspiring to monopoly status, and only their (back then) weakness in the market holds that in check. I predicted that, once Apple has achieved enough of a market share to feel secure, they would revert to their old ways and their behavior would make Microsoft and Bill Gates look like good corporate citizens in comparison (and that takes real effort given their long and well documented history of anti-competative practices).

We are now there (and have been for some months, arguably a year or more), and as night follows day, Apple is behaving exactly as expected.

I recommended Apple to my wife a number of years ago, as at the time Microsoft was far worse, and Linux wasn't quite ready for what she needed to do (and she was unwilling to climb the learning curve). I now regret that...as bad as Microsoft is in terms of trampling its users' freedoms and invading its users' privacy, Apple has become significantly worse (and far, far sooner than I expected). Alas, my wife is used to a simple computer that works, and while Linux works perfectly and would now do all she needs, I doubt she'll be willing to take on the effort required to learn a new, slightly different interface

I'm afraid we will all have to keep learning these lessons time and time again: if you want digital freedom, you absolutely cannot cede your basic infrastructure to monopolists or monopolist-wannabes. Indeed, Richard Stallman will probably turn out to have been right all along: if you want freedom, you cannot build your digital world on top of a proprietary platform, no matter how beneign your master may appear today. Apple 2005 vs. Apple 2010 is a strong case in point (and I'm as guilty as anyone for being seduced by the former).

Eventually we'll all have to learn Linux, FreeBSD, or some other free alternative, or face similar attempts at vertical digital monopolies and gatekeepers. It may sound trite, it may sound radical, and it is certainly inviting contempt on this forum to cite RMS on this point, but in my 20+ years in the field I've had my pragmatic feet knocked out from under me at least 4 times by proprietary vendors such as Apple and Microsoft (and others), usually with very negative results. In every case, Stallman's argument against basing a product, business, or day-to-day operating environment on proprietary infrastructure has been vindicated, in spades. Now it's time for the happy shiny Apple-ites to experience this lesson first hand.

"Want digital freedom in the 21st century? There's an App for that ... too bad it's been banned from the iPhone App Store."

Yet Amazon sells them in the US (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010252)

You buy iPads through Amazon. What's Apple's problem in Japan?

Re:Yet Amazon sells them in the US (4, Interesting)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010388)

Its like region coding for dvds. Some regions get DTS, tins and other fun stuff.
Some parts of the world got a 16:9 movie and .. nothing.
Apple wants to milk different parts of the world in different ways.
From Japan to the Australian price bump on some products, if the herd pays, Apple will farm you.

Re:Yet Amazon sells them in the US (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010888)

And in the US, movie studios continue to release 4:3 versions of 16:9 films for no good reason.

Cheapness? (4, Funny)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010338)

newspapers suggest that Apple believes online shopping confers an aura of 'cheapness' on their products

That certainly explains Apples App store.

Re:Cheapness? (2, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010354)

also, store.apple.com

Re:Cheapness? (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010690)

So far they've just taken my money and haven't actually shipped anything. Doesn't count as a sell yet. Possibly they'll send me a seemingly empty box with a letter explaining they've made my iPad invisible for my own protection.

Translation (3, Insightful)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010366)

The comments in the Japanese business newspapers suggest that Apple believes online shopping confers an aura of 'cheapness' on their products;

Translation:

We want consumers to continue overestimating the actual usage value of our products. It is not good for our bottom line if potential buyers make objective and informed decisions.

Not that I blame Apple. It is just the ordinary day to day deceptive business practices of any successful corporation. Well informed participants in the market is not good, because it is difficult to make big profits in an actually functioning free market. In fact, in a perfectly functioning free market it would be mostly impossible to make money beyond that to pay ordinary wages and initial investments, as any business area where more money could be made would be quickly swamped with competitors.

Re:Translation (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010728)

The amazing thing is the number of people willing to sell for less than a product costs. And not the obvious situation of retailers who sell enough to get a discounted purchase price. No wonder you can get such good deals online.

Re:Translation (1, Troll)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011360)

In fact, in a perfectly functioning free market it would be mostly impossible to make money beyond that to pay ordinary wages and initial investments, as any business area where more money could be made would be quickly swamped with competitors.

A perfect free market is a fantasy dreamed up by economically-illiterate clowns in order to justify their opposition to society's sensible attempts to restrain naked capitalism.

How much were the online sellers discounting? (5, Interesting)

Shag (3737) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010434)

Apple has long discouraged domestic resellers from discounting its products, which is why you'll rarely see anyone selling them at more than a 5% discount within the US. (You will, though, see other deal-sweeteners, such as expanded RAM or a free printer thrown in.) Some early articles I read on today's news indicated that the online shops in Japan may have been marking things down too much for Apple's tastes - if that was the case, this wouldn't surprise me at all; it'd just be Apple applying the same sort of policy it applies domestically to overseas resellers.

Interestingly, there's a "Your Rights Online" story active on Slashdot right now about a Supreme Court case involving "the ability of resellers to offer legitimate, non-pirated versions of copyrighted goods, manufactured in foreign nations, to US consumers at prices that undercut those charged by the copyright holders."

Shoe on the other foot?

Re:How much were the online sellers discounting? (4, Interesting)

TedRiot (899157) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010808)

This is pretty usual in some fields with some highend brands. For example Polar (heart rate monitors) does not allow retailers to advertise discounts on their products, though they are allowed to sell with a discount. Same applies for many other brands that consider themselves 'not cheap'.

And if you don't sell by their rules, you are not allowed to sell them at all.

I myself don't (and I'm not implying that parent did either) consider this evil. If a manufacturer wants to limit their distribution channels, I think they are welcome to make their products hard for the consumer to acquire.

Re:How much were the online sellers discounting? (1)

nausicaa (461792) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011886)

I think it depends on your perspective.. Personally, as a consumer I absolutely loathe any attempt to control what I can buy, and from where, regardles of whether it's a game, CD, DVD, BD, etc, or digital downloads of those.. Or the hardware, for that matter. They should just STFU and sell. They exist because we want their products, regardless of how we came to want them. When I buy a movie, I don't give a damn which version they want to sell in my country; I buy the version that has what I want, with price being semi-important factor..

From movies with differing aspect ratios, audio tracks, and extras, via which music I can buy, to what games I get to play, it's all pissing me off enough to make me want to bash some heads :P

Re:How much were the online sellers discounting? (2, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010874)

Way it used to be (not seeing anything to indicate that this has changed) resellers of Apple products where not allowed (as per the terms of their contract with Apple) to change the price. So they couldn't offer any discounts. What they could do was offer add ins such as free printers, more memory etc.

Re:How much were the online sellers discounting? (4, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011376)

Interestingly, there's a "Your Rights Online" story active on Slashdot right now about a Supreme Court case involving "the ability of resellers to offer legitimate, non-pirated versions of copyrighted goods, manufactured in foreign nations, to US consumers at prices that undercut those charged by the copyright holders."

This is called Parallel importing [wikipedia.org] and is quite legal here in Australia. This has been a great boon to those of us who like games at half price and don't mind waiting two weeks for them to be delivered. Parallel importing is tax free up until A$1000, then the govt simply asks for it's cut.

There was a legal case where a store was selling legitimate branded clothing at a reduced price, the company sued the store but because the imports were above board (not counterfeit, taxes paid) the court ruled in the stores favour. Reference - Polo\Loren vs Ziliani Holdings Pty Ltd [australian...awblog.com].

This is also the easiest way to fight price discrimination, which as I pointed out happens with video games, from Play-Asia.com I can get US, Euro or even Australian versions of games for A$40-45. From local Australian retailers the exact same products go for at least A$80.

Re:How much were the online sellers discounting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011694)

About a year ago I purchased a Fender American Stratocaster. The music store had a 30% discount off all Fenders month.

When I showed up a few days before the sale ended, they said they had to reduce the discount (ie increase the price slightly) because Fender reps had heard about the sale, come around, and complained that the Fenders were too cheap now. I'm sure this happens frequently in many industries.

The price of an item is one factor (often a key one) in determining how much value a consumer places on an item. When items are sold "too cheap", the item loses value or prestige.

If BMW's were sold for $5000 each, would they still be classified as a luxury car? No. Ironically, the increased price is the biggest selling point of the BMW. When you buy a BMW, you are buying status and prestige as much as you are buying a car. If you could buy them for cheap so that everyone could have them, nobody would really care that much about them, hence the brand loses status. No status, no reason to buy a beamer.

So if you find yourself selling trinkets or other items which are very hard to objectively value and you aren't making many sales, just raise the price. The price will be the overwhelming determinant of value in the eyes of consumers in this case. I am serious.

Guess it's bye bye then (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010534)

I wanted to get a new Mac eventually, but since they're such dicks, I'll just get a badass PC and use EmpireEFI to install OSX on it.

No online sales? (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010600)

No online sales?

Hmm, yes, yes, there's another way...

Hmmmm... I did read about it...

Oh! I remember! It's in the village main street. In exchange for a goat, right?

Re:No online sales? (0, Offtopic)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010726)

But if you use your goat to buy an iMac, how will you pay your doctor? But then again, I guess since Japan is among those countries that actually makes sure everyone has cheap health insurance(though it's not single payer like the Canadian system), they might not have to worry about it as much as that other country that unfortunately thinks "Republicans" are a good idea.

Who cares? (3, Insightful)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010616)

And nothing of value was lost.

Re:Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011310)

I care because it's actually rather good for the competition. By pulling it's products off certain markets, Apple allows other manufacturers to take over this segment.

As somebody who judges devices by features and price and not by hype and brand, I thoroughly welcome this step.

Apple has been alienating it's core base (5, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010654)

Apple doesn't really seem to care about a lot of it's "core" customers anymore. Look how long it took to update the macbook pros and they are selling mac pros that came out 14 months ago for the same price that they sold them for when they came out. Somebody better tell Apple that in the tech business, 14 months is looooooooong time.... Furthermore they are letting a lot of the pro apps waste away and supposedly the "world's most advanced operating system" doesn't even have support for shit like TRIM despite the fact that 3/7 of the computers Apple ships have options for SSD cards(macbook air(another neglected machine), macbook pro, and xserve). They also don't offer SSD options for the iMacs, and people have gone to great lengths to install them in their iMacs(most people take out the now almost useless optical drive, but Apple makes even doing that as painful as possible)

Now they are striking at customers who buy Apple stuff online(more than likely to be the pros, you ever try to lug a mac pro on the train? I cannot imagine it would be fun....) All so they can hype some overpriced consumer toys just a little bit more.
I used to be a huge Apple fanboy, but unfortunately Apple is proving the trolls that say "Apple is only an image company"

Apple, you are alienating people that have stood by you for a long time and are the most likely to remember how you snubbed them. Your gadget customers have no problem leaving Apple at the drop of a hat, and next time the latest and greatest shiny comes out from one of your competitors you won't have your pro base to fall back on anymore.

Re:Apple has been alienating it's core base (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010884)

*claps*
I'm not much of a 'pro' user in that I don't run photoshop or aperture or logic pro etc. but as a techie I knew a great OS stack when I see one. Loved my macbooks even though at heart I am a CLI tweaker and gamer. (yes v unfortunate combination).

You can most def see the shift away from their traditional base (i.e. OSX users who love OSX!) towards mass consumer gadget / media consumption overlord. Don't forget removing firewire from baseline macbooks, thousands of music production / pro audio geeks went windows in an instant. Its been getting harder and harder to defend their practices.

Now that Win7 is no longer a POS it has actually become feasible in my mind to buy a non apple laptop... in the vista days before the latest half a dozen Jobsian 1984 stunts that would have been unthinkable to me.

Fortunately or unfortunately, my hatred of itunes and existence of viable alternatives (i.e. android) has kept me from the iphone / itunes lockin so far, but it would have been easier to roll over and submit had they not kept ignoring their core fanbase and pulling even more evil empire stunts.

Re:Apple has been alienating it's core base (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011384)

You can most def see the shift away from their traditional base (i.e. OSX users who love OSX!) towards mass consumer gadget / media consumption overlord.

Their overwhelming brand slogans over many years have been: "The computer for the rest of us", and "Think Different". THAT's the traditional base. People who value a well designed, easy to use tool. Not geeks. And the iPad shows that they are continuing to innovate to serve that base.

Re:Apple has been alienating it's core base (4, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011340)

Apple doesn't really seem to care about a lot of it's "core" customers anymore. Look how long it took to update the macbook pros and they are selling mac pros that came out 14 months ago for the same price that they sold them for when they came out. Somebody better tell Apple that in the tech business, 14 months is looooooooong time....

Apple's Mac sales consistently increase above the PC market in general. For example the last quarter was up 33% over the year ago quarter. They don't need anyone to tell them how run their Mac lines - they are doing rather well themselves.

Re:Apple has been alienating it's core base (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011352)

Apple's value was always how they really thought about what average users require. Two awesome examples are Time Machine and System Preferences, especially Networking. Two horrible disasters are Address Book and iCal, although I confess they got me off text files. ;)

We should consider how Apple's two biggest recent advancements translate over into the Linux world :

Leopard : Time Machine has several advantages over other backup solutions like rsync scripts : (1) simplicity by eliminating configuration options, (2) intuitive 3d effects, (3) speed via integration with metadata, (4) space efficiency via directory hard links, and (5) integration with applications. (1) and (2) are the biggies that get people using Time Machine. (3) would most likely be sacrificed on Linux, and (4) would require ZFS for the backup volume. (5) is actually the feature that makes Time Machine most useful day-to-day, but implementation appears daunting for Linux.

Snow Leopard : The low-level virtual machine [wikipedia.org] sounds quite promising, but who knows if C blocks and C++ lambdas will actually translate into dramatically faster code. I'd hope that Linux adopts these features if they pan out.

Yea this is why (5, Insightful)

arcite (661011) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011892)

Apple just had its best quarter in their history, their stock is at record highs, they have mountains of cash, and have the world media at their fingertips. Apple doesn't need your love.

The "experience" (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010660)

Apple wants all Apple customers/consumers to experience the Apple experience. I get that. And they should be able to determine the method of sale to consumers by not providing products to offending sellers. I believe it should be their right. (On the surface that might seem to fly in the face of first-sale doctrine, but just follow with me here) If these sellers currently have stock to sell and Apple wishes to stop the sellers from selling their current stock in any way they see fit, I see a big problem with that. If Apple wishes to pursue that line, they should compensate these stores with an offer to buy their products back at full retail price plus shipping, handling and local taxes.

In short:

Apple don't supply to offending sellers = OK
Apple buys back supply from offending sellers at full retail price = OK
Apple seeks to enjoin the sale of something they don't own = NOT OK

I accept that companies like Apple and Ikea seek to create a consumer experience. I completely reject their experience and their products. (So please, no quick responses saying "So what are you complaining about? Don't buy from them!" I already don't. Now I am telling people WHY.) I can't stand being in either of their two stores. They deny me the convenience of expeditiously finding what I want, picking it up and simply buying it and leaving the way I can with any other consumer experience offered by any other seller of product. I think what I hate most about it is this feeling that I have stepped into an alternate reality. I am okay with this at "theme restaurants" and "renaissance fairs" and the like. It's the experience that people are actively seeking. I get that and it can be fun. But when this experience is a required "rite of passage" in order to own any of their "trophies" (err, I mean "products") I feel a surge of rejection that seems to originate in the vicinity of my stomach.

How is this related to the original story? Simple. If it seems that Apple is attempting to extend or require their apple experience as a requirement of ownership of their products, it just comes across as quite wrong and very objectionable.

Re:The "experience" (0, Troll)

paimin (656338) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010882)

Thank goodness for Apple -- if it wasn't for them where would you direct your daily hate and smugness?

Re:The "experience" (1)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010988)

I dont think this decision has anything to do with the experience. It has a lot to do with prices. A lot of companies dictate the prices their products should be sold for. Apple doesn't want the online stores to be placing their prices too low. The same happens to ps3, xbox, wii, DS, other computers, televisions, etc. I'm not sure why companies do this, but they do it a lot. It also seems like those Japanese stores were lowering their mac prices too low and Apple had to stop them... What I find very weird from your post is the following:

They deny me the convenience of expeditiously finding what I want, picking it up and simply buying it and leaving the way I can with any other consumer experience offered by any other seller of product

That's very weird, because I've found that it's actually quite the opposite. At an Apple store, you are usually greeted by an employee. You can tell them what you want and he/she will get it for you and even charge you right there on the spot. Most stores (if not all) do not have computers right there for you to pick up and then leave, they have to get them from the "back." Best Buy sometimes has some of the cheaper laptops for you to pick up, but it not that common. So all in all, I think the Apple store is the fastest if not one of the fastest. And of course the best part is that if you didnt want the employee's help, you just tell them that you are looking and they will leave you alone. Also, most of the time they say something like "Hi, welcome to the apple store, if you need help we are here to help." They dont even get in your way if you dont want to.

I think what I hate most about it is this feeling that I have stepped into an alternate reality. I am okay with this at "theme restaurants" and "renaissance fairs" and the like. It's the experience that people are actively seeking. I get that and it can be fun. But when this experience is a required "rite of passage" in order to own any of their "trophies" (err, I mean "products") I feel a surge of rejection that seems to originate in the vicinity of my stomach.

What are you talking about? Do you feel in an alternate reality when you enter Walmart? Target? Banana Republic? JC Penny? Every store has its own look and feel. The Apple store mimics their own minimalistic designs. In fact, I think this helps them a lot. The only things that pop up in their store are their own products, which is what they are selling after all.

Re:The "experience" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011930)

I think Apple just wants their products feel like status items and not mere commodity.

Ordering discount products from cheapo dealers with neon colored flashing websites doesn't suit Apple style.

Resale Contract (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010890)

The major pressess aren't mentioning it, but former Apple VP Naohisa Fukuda is suspecting it is more about resale contract with the retailers [togetter.com](sorry Japanese link).

Apple has different resale contract for online and offline.
  http://solutionprofessionals.apple.com/catalog/

In Japan, the offline resellers has also been able to sell offline without additional contract, but Apple seems to have change that policy.

Another problem is that Apple Japan doesn't seem to have registration form for Japanese resellers, so they might have to contract with Apple Inc.(US) directly.

Also note, that Amazon still sells Apple products in Japan.

2nd sale? (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32010944)

So why can't the 'online retailers' just buy the Apple products at authorized b&m retailers like everyone else, and then sell them at a premium online? I imagine a lot of folks would be willing to pay significantly more to get a product shipped to their home.

Re:2nd sale? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011292)

You probably lose warranty.

Re:2nd sale? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011388)

So why can't the 'online retailers' just buy the Apple products at authorized b&m retailers like everyone else, and then sell them at a premium online? I imagine a lot of folks would be willing to pay significantly more to get a product shipped to their home.

Er, isn't the main advantage of online shopping that it is cheaper, not more expensive than visiting a bricks and mortar retail store?

18% Cheaper on-line (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32010992)

Cheapest iMac (MB950J) found via kakaku.com
Lowest price: 96,580
Apple.com/jp : 118,800 yen
That is 18% less than Apple's price

Even when I came to Japan 6 years ago, I was surprised that non-Apple stores discounts were much better than comparable stores in the US. (In fact, at my university in the US, the educational discount was about the best you could do. At my university in Japan, the accounting office complained when I bought my Mac from the campus bookstore -- online companies would have been cheaper.)

Kakaku.com is a widely used price comparison website in Japan:
http://kakaku.com/item/K0000064881/pricehistory/
(red is lowest price, blue is average)

In the UK too please! (5, Funny)

pklong (323451) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011100)

Oh please Applie extend this to the UK too.

My other half desperately wants a new expensive Macbook and I'd rather spend the money on beer. Do this and it would make it impossible for us to get one as there isn't an Apple store near here.

Bottoms Up!

Philip

Re:In the UK too please! (1)

Caetel (1057316) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011154)

Obviously you just need to spend the money on beer before she gets the chance to buy the Macbook.

Re:In the UK too please! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011654)

Can still just buy from the Apple store... Which makes alot more sense than buying elsewhere anyway.

Here's you're explanation (-1, Troll)

Slashcrap (869349) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011164)

"I fucking hate chinks and slants" Steve Jobs, 2007.

I know you lot see him as some kind of messiah, but when he can get away with saying this kind of shit in public with barely a comment, I'd say the word "Fuhrer" might be more appropriate.

And no I'm not going to fucking cite it for you, you can find it easily enough yourselves. If Safari doesn't crash on you first.

Re:Here's you're explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011332)

"I fucking hate chinks and slants" Steve Jobs, 2007.

I know you lot see him as some kind of messiah, but when he can get away with saying this kind of shit in public with barely a comment, I'd say the word "Fuhrer" might be more appropriate.

And no I'm not going to fucking cite it for you, you can find it easily enough yourselves. If Safari doesn't crash on you first.

mod parent "troll".

Wait a sec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011372)

Yodoyabashi camera [yodobashi.com] seems to be selling Apple stuff online.

Re:Wait a sec (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011492)

From your link (translation from Japanesich):

About Apple purchases. This product is, by request of Apple Inc. removed from the online catalog of Yodobashi dot com. You can pick your apple product after pre-ordering it here in the yodobashi shops. We are sorry to inform you that we cannot sell it to customers who cannot visit our shop. We are sorry for the inconvenience. If you have a question, please call the following phone.

amazon.co.jp , for example, begs to differ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32011498)

http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/search/?rh=i:electronics,k:%E3%82%A2%E3%83%83%E3%83%97%E3%83%AB

It seems that Apple is signing exclusive contracts with specific online retailers, which is a completely different thing from the sensational headline.

Commodity vs unique product. (2, Funny)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32011670)

Alot of industries do this. Especially so when their product is edging closer to becoming a commodity, ie something that can be supplied from just about any source and it will satisfy a need. It is a marketing strategy to maintain the "quality and uniqueness of their product. (AKA Bullshit)

Apple fan boys a side, you, me, and just about anyone else these days can pretty much go out and buy a computer or hand held based purely on specs from just about any manufacturer and end up with a fairly satisfying device. This scares the pants of manufactures since the premium markup (100-1000%) they've enjoyed for years tanks and end up looking like grocery store mark ups on milk. (Less than 10%)

In another 5-10 years when you can have an entire computer on a single chip, the transition to a commodity will be complete and companies like Apple, Dell, Asus, ATI, Nvidia etc that don't come up with some sort of niche service will die out and get swallowed up by the likes of Wal-Mart, Tesco, Coscos.

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