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Apple's Haves and Have Nots, Around the World

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the just-bitter-about-ipad-prices dept.

Businesses 247

Rambo Tribble writes "As this story in the Economist notes, Apple's policies regarding international sales are often confusing and outdated. Apparently, Apple either hasn't been aware of political and social changes in the world over the last 20 years, or doesn't wish to acknowledge them." Soulskill rightly notes that at least some of the complained-about policies boil down to Apple's adherence to local copyright and licensing laws.

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wow (5, Insightful)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144854)

Just a sincerely humble opinion from a user of slashdot, I mean no cynical biased remarks from what follows, now that I got that out of the way:

That's interesting, do you mean to say laws differ from country to country, WOW!

If anyone has some more intelligent takes or even substantial information other than the article that was linked, please inform me and I will gladly read :)

Re:wow (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144878)

Because I know its coming:

Why doesn’t Apple, a company so irritatingly up to date in its products and marketing, update its worldview when it comes to sales? Apple’s global headquarters did not respond to a request for comment. A spokeswoman in Britain promised to investigate. When we get an answer, we’ll post it here.

I just want an answer to why, that's all. Thanks, somehow forgot that quote (slapForehead();)

Re:wow (5, Funny)

angularbanjo (1521611) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144968)

slapForehead();

Surely you mean

Forehead *myForehead = [[Forehead alloc] init];
[myForehead isSlapped:YES with:@"Hand"];
[myForehead release];

Re:wow (1)

masterwit (1800118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145190)

awesome. But no I need auto "garbage collection", I do a lot of things I do not mean. win btw.

Re:wow (4, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145812)

[myForehead isSlapped:YES with:@"Hand"];

The is prefix should only be used on predicate methods (i.e. ones returning a BOOL). If you have a KVC-compliant accessor, it can be isSlapped or setSlapped: for the @"slapped" key. Starting a method with side effects with is is very bad style.

Re:wow (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145978)

sorry no more mod points, and fellow slashdotters seem to have run out of humor right now.

Re:wow (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32144898)

Seriously. Just wait until the economist hears about region coded dvds!

Re:wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145308)

More importantly, why dosen't Apple open stores in nigger-dominated countries? Those Eastern-Europeans don't know what the hell they're talking abbooout.

Not reallly wow (2, Insightful)

theolein (316044) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145392)

The most obvious answer, from a quick look at the list is that the current list of countries reflects countries where Apple judges that it will make enough ROI to make it worthwhile investing the large sums of money it takes to make for an Apple "experience". For Apple that means translating all its documentation and website/store and also setting up local call centres and localising its products. Given that there are many small countries with small Apple brand recognition in Eastern Europe, I would think that that would be the most realistic answer.

Not that I really care all that much about Apple at the moment. I'm a Mac sys admin and I'm kind of burned about the shit that Apple calls a server OS and the related hardware.

Re:Not reallly wow (4, Informative)

war4peace (1628283) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145610)

Yeah, right. Ukraine, Poland and Romania amount to over 100 million people. In Poland and Romania, there are lots of people already owning iPhones and iPads are already being sold (and no, I mean no counterfeits, the real thing, they are legit devices bought from Western Europe and sold with inflated prices). And guess what, people buy them as well.
iTunes doesn't need large sums of money invested to make it work for these countries. But you are right, Apple "judges" and TBH, doesn't judge correctly. They CAN make money out of these countries, but they don't feel like trying. Oh well, this approach makes someone else rich anyway.

Re:Not reallly wow (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145846)

In Poland and Romania, there are lots of people already owning iPhones and iPads are already being sold (and no, I mean no counterfeits, the real thing, they are legit devices bought from Western Europe and sold with inflated prices).

Authorised Apple Resellers: Poland
http://www.apple.com/pl/buy/locator/map.html?tySearch=1&viaProduct=2&viaSpecial=-1&strCountry=POL&lat=52.2296756&lng=21.0122287&gCountry=PL&c3=1 [apple.com]

Authorised Apple Reseller, Romania:
http://store.apcom.ro/ [apcom.ro]

Re:Not reallly wow (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145984)

I think it's also about negotiating content deals for each country

Re:wow (1)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145992)

Just a sincerely humble opinion from a user of slashdot, I mean no cynical biased remarks from what follows, now that I got that out of the way:

That's interesting, do you mean to say laws differ from country to country, WOW!

It's not only digital downloads though. Here in Belgium for example we won't be getting the iPad until a month after the UK, France and Germany even though to get to mainland Europe they have to ship these things through our ports. It feels like Apple doesn't have someone setting a global EU policy but instead has several separate divisions doing their thing in opposition to each other.

Apples website in general (4, Interesting)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144890)

Apples website is generally a shambles. I'm trying to develop iPhone applications and it's useless and difficult to navigate.

Also try looking at the technical specifications of the iPhone - it's just a bulletpoint list of features- hardly 'technical'

Basically their website sucks, and the sucking doesn't stop there with Apple

Re:Apples website in general (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32144944)

There is a field near the navigation bar called "Search" that works similar to Spotlight on OSX

I really doubt you've even bothered to look, because typing iPhone Technical Specifications [apple.com] nailed it as the top result.

You're just being obtuse on this matter. Apple site is considered to be one of the most usable ones out there. Calling it "in shambles" is one of the dumbest gripes I've heard. Perhaps you wanted to rant about something and misplaced your rage?

Re:Apples website in general (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145142)

There is a field near the navigation bar called "Search" that works similar to Spotlight on OSX

I really doubt you've even bothered to look, because typing iPhone Technical Specifications [apple.com] nailed it as the top result.

You're just being obtuse on this matter. Apple site is considered to be one of the most usable ones out there. Calling it "in shambles" is one of the dumbest gripes I've heard. Perhaps you wanted to rant about something and misplaced your rage?

Also try looking at the technical specifications of the iPhone - it's just a bulletpoint list of features- hardly 'technical'

Actually it looks like they were perfectly capable of finding the "Technical" Specifications they just said it sucked and the comment about hard the site being hard to navigate was a separate matter as denoted by the ALSO!

Re:Apples website in general (1)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145676)

I'm interested in the sensors of the iPhone

See where it has bullet points for
* Accelerometer
* Proximity sensor
* Ambient light sensor

Details, Apple. You do not have them.

Re:Apples website in general (4, Funny)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145728)

* Accelerometer
* Proximity sensor
* Ambient light sensor

...all typical components of a bomb...

Re:Apples website in general (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145858)

Where are the dynamic sticks, the coiled wires, and the ticking timer?

          -dZ.

Re:Apples website in general (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145868)

Duh! I meant "dynamite".

    -dZ.

Re:Apples website in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32146214)

There's an app for each of those.

Re:Apples website in general (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145864)

I'm interested in the sensors of the iPhone
See where it has bullet points for
* Accelerometer
* Proximity sensor
* Ambient light sensor
Details, Apple. You do not have them.

What details of these sensors does the potential purchaser need?

Re:Apples website in general (2, Interesting)

lul_wat (1623489) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146052)

* Accelerometer

How many G's does it measure - how many axis of measurement - maximum sample rate.

* Proximity sensor

Range of measurement - is it 1cm? 1m? 10m? Infra-red? Sonic? Where on the phone is it located?

* Ambient light sensor

Is it on/off or different levels of light?

etc etc.

Re:Apples website in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145840)

Apple site is considered to be one of the most usable ones out there.

Obvious Apple shill is obvious.

Some zenly advice (4, Funny)

mveloso (325617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144964)

Sometimes when something sucks it's not them - it's you.

Re:Some zenly advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32146188)

This never ceases to amaze me. I once sat by a BestBuy, close to customer service, to see all the people bringing their computer yelling and complaining loudly and confident it wasn't their problem (even though we all know most of the time it's the user's fault).

I went to the Apple store, and that doesn't happen there. People come into the store, looking down, acting humble.

Is people really afraid of complaining at the Apple store? Or their marketing also works for their customer service department?

Re:Apples website in general (2, Informative)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145040)

Apples website is generally a shambles. I'm trying to develop iPhone applications and it's useless and difficult to navigate.

Apple's consumer website www.apple.com is one of the best designed websites out there.

Apple's developer website developer.apple.com is less well designed, more evolved over a period of time. But hardly a problem. If you're having trouble finding information for developing iPhone applications, then the first most likely explanation is that you haven't yet paid your $99 to be in the iPhone developer program.

Also try looking at the technical specifications of the iPhone - it's just a bulletpoint list of features- hardly 'technical'

You mean the one on the consumer website. I see an appropriate level of detail for a consumer electronics product. What tech spec information do you imagine is missing?

Re:Apples website in general (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145972)

Well it's easier to switch from the US to the UK store by changing US to UK in your URL bar than it is finding where they hid the drop down list with most of the worlds countries (which you'll then have to sort through). Think really annoying, oh sorry, "different".

Re:Apples website in general (1)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145996)

So, because part of the site doesn't cater to your specific needs, it sucks? Have you considered that you are not the target audience for that particular page? Most people fill their tech specs page with too much technical info when all someone wants to know is the weight, if a specific feature is included, etc. If you want more details, then the developer site should tell you what you need to know, and there's always Google.

Non-article? (1)

Rivak (144363) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144896)

Different countries have different product availability? Hmm, fascinating...

The only interesting fact provided by this article is that the president of Estonia owned an Apple IIe

Re:Non-article? (1, Insightful)

matushorvath (972424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145662)

Mostly it's not about product availability. Often those are products I can buy in a stone shop here without problems. The problem is that if you try to order them online, you often find that your country is simply not listed.

But why? I mean, the cold war ended 20 years ago, count them. We have had democracy with a market economy since then. We have been in EU for 6 years. Our copyright, patent and consumer law is up to date with the EU law. There is no jungle here, people are not being eaten, this is Europe. And still, half of the times when I try to order something from the net, I find out that they will either not ship it, or ship it for some ridiculous price because we are included in the "rest of the world" region that includes Antarctica and probably the Moon. Even if the web shop is in Europe. And mostly the problem is with big companies, like Amazon or Apple. The small shops are usually fine. I have bought a notebook online from US, and loads of stuff from Germany and UK. Never had any problem. Except that half the time when I found something for a price that seemed OK, I then found that Europe means "west from Vienna".

Ok, everyone has a right to choose whom to sell and whom not. I don't have a problem with that. But I would like them to make the choice based on some rational thought, not randomly as it seems to be now. People who own web shops just automatically exclude central and east Europe. Other thing, I have seen shops that still list "Czechoslovakia" as one of the countries. Czechoslovakia does not exist, it has been 17 years. Where did they get such an old list of countries? If they don't care about this, I can be sure they don't care whether someone from eastern Europe can order or not.

Re:Non-article? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145900)

If the big international firms aren't serving the region well, then that sounds like an entreprenurial opportunity for someone with local knowledge to fill the gap.

If there are such people doing so, then what's the problem?
If there are not such people doing so, then perhaps it's not a market worth pursuing.
If you know for a fact it is worth pursuing, and nobody is doing so, then what the hell are you waiting for?

Re:Non-article? (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145970)

Or there is some other form of control preventing competition, like the inability of a non Apple provider to provide an itunes content store alternative?

Re:Non-article? (2, Informative)

matushorvath (972424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146074)

Actually, there are companies that try to fill the gap. They have an address in US that you can use when ordering in an US-only online shop, and they will re-mail it to you in Europe. It is not cheap and a bit complicated, but it works.

Also, if you read my comment carefully, I used the word "half" a lot. There are many online shops that have no problem with shipping to eastern Europe. I can get my stuff online, it is just much less convenient.

The problem here is really simple. People in countries that are being left out have a strong feeling that the decision many companies make, not to ship to these countries, is often not based on rational reasoning. Yes, we can use the gap as an entrepreneurial opportunity, but that is beside the point. The point here is that we want to alert the companies that reconsidering their policy may be beneficial to them as well as to us.

(Try to walk in my shoes for a moment: You find something interesting on Amazon, try to order it... bang, not shipping this there. You search for it on google, try a few other shops, and maybe the third one will ship it. Even though you succeed, you still feel... discriminated.)

Re:Non-article? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146186)

If you know for a fact it is worth pursuing, and nobody is doing so, then what the hell are you waiting for?

The copyrights to expire, which won't happen until after I have died.

Media Regional Sales Restrictions (5, Informative)

muindaur (925372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144904)

The only thing I managed to really garner from this article is this, it's about Apples country restrictions on music and movies.

If the economist did a bit more research independently they would see it's a rights management issue from the content generators. Music and film in both the US and UK tend to restrict certain things like to their respective countries on a belief it's the only way everyone gets their dues.

It's the reason the silly regional encoding exists for the encryption on almost every DVD; my Discovery Channel Living With Wolves DVD lacked any sort of encryption.
Partly the irrational fear that artists won't get their rightful dues, because of currency exchange rates. Piracy fears I think are the biggest concern on the media companies not letting stuff out of the country digitally.

Along with the fact they make probably loads licensing manufacturers in other countries to make them locally and get around tariffs.

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (4, Insightful)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144972)

Partly the irrational fear that artists won't get their rightful dues, because of currency exchange rates.

Are you insinuating that artists currently DO get their rightful dues?

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (0, Redundant)

muindaur (925372) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145036)

I should have better linked that sentence with the piracy sentence. In context of that article, however, I remember seeing that as the official line for the lack of foreign content long ago. The article just seems like a late comer to an issue that has existed for a long time, lacking good research.

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (3, Informative)

Too Much Noise (755847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145068)

If you try reading the first part of TFA as well, you'll see that you don't get Apple Store access at all in some European countries (members of the European Union, mind you, even some in the euro-zone), but you do in Vietnam. How is that again about movies and video again?

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145314)

Amazingly to do business in any country you need to meet that country's legal requirements, business requirements and son. It may very well be that Vietnam is really easy to do business in and I'm sure the proximity to China makes shipping easy. Likewise certain countries ARE well known sources for fraud so you may not want to do business there. Just because a country in in the EU doesn't mean much.

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145688)

"Just because a country in in the EU doesn't mean much."

The theory of the EU is that it is a unified market. As a citizen of a EU nation one can do business within any member state (there might be some restrictions on Bulgaria/Romania left). And as far as I know non EU companies that have a presence in any EU country can supply the whole EU market. Except when it comes to intellectual properties, each country has their own MP/RI equivalent, which Apple has to deal with on a per country basis.

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (3, Insightful)

matushorvath (972424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145698)

Sorry, this is just plain prejudice. For business purposes EU is one big country. OK, certain countries are well known sources for fraud. My country is not one of them. There is no problem with doing business here. Dell and HP have support centers here that support users all over Europe. IBM has a sales/purchasing center here, they handle accounts all over the world. SAP has a software developer center here, too.

Maybe Apple has some IP related reasons why they can sell media only in certain countries, but most other cases when shops do not ship to eastern Europe are just a result of prejudice and lazyness. The person who fills list of countries into the shop can either investigate which countries to include, or he can just decide to include western Europe "since they are OK" and ignore the rest.

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146270)

My country is not one of them.

Bull shit!!! Even the US has plenty of fraud. The real questions are: What's the percentage of fraud/theft/loss/damage can a company like Apple expect when shipping/selling to your country? It's all a question of percentages and cost-benefit analysis. No one country is 100% free from fraud (even a country like Japan, I can give you examples of fraud there too).

There is no problem with doing business here. Dell and HP have support centers here that support users all over Europe. IBM has a sales/purchasing center here, they handle accounts all over the world. SAP has a software developer center here, too.

Yeah, you guys can accept money coming in, but what about money coming out? How long does it take for a wire transfer, a check, and/or for a credit card transaction to clear? Eastern European countries (and yes, I'm talking to you too, President of Estonia) have some of the weirdest banking regulations where it comes to detecting fraud and how long it takes to notify the seller.

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145722)

Right. I'm sure there's a very 'good' legal reason why doing business in Vietnam is easier than in Finland. Must be something to do with the maximum number of lakes allowed in the country, or something like that. Macs and water don't mix well (nor blend). Not sure what that reason would be for other missing eurozone countries, like Greece, Slovakia or Slovenia. And population size won't explain not having an app store in Poland (which, btw, cancels your silly shipping argument - if you can ship in Germany, Poland is next door).

As for legal, I'm actually wondering when the EU Commission will come knocking, as having a presence in the EU requires shipping in any and all of its countries. So it's rather the opposite of having to obey local laws - Apple is actually ignoring them.

Re:Media Regional Sales Restrictions (2, Insightful)

TSRX (1129939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146366)

Piracy fears I think are the biggest concern on the media companies not letting stuff out of the country digitally.

After all, the best way to combat the copying of a product is to not even sell it.

Unfair? (2, Funny)

tnok85 (1434319) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144920)

Complaining about inequality in Western Europe? What do they think this is, socialism?

Sick of this shit (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32144932)

Slashdot: News for Apple, Apples that Matter

Re:Sick of this shit (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145108)

The Apple fanboys are hard at work modding any slightly critical comment down it seems. Spending mod points on an AC ... they seem to be rather rabid today.

And EU global market ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32144954)

Apple is clearly infringing the Rome and the Maastricht treaty when they forbid a french customer to buy on belgian store. They may just follow the infingments from copyrights owner, but that goes against free travel of goods inside EU.

Re:And EU global market ? (2, Interesting)

lordholm (649770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145098)

The treaties are for the states, not the companies. The second issue is that at the moment the intellectual property market is split up due to the licensing agencies that are authorised to handle different states.

The EU is doing something about this though, and we can most likely expect to see something happen during the current commission, the last one took substantial steps in this area, but clearly not enough.

Global Village (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 4 years ago | (#32144976)

I guess the Global Village metaphor for the world we live in is apt after all. You have the haves, and the have nots.

I don't think we will ever have a global economy where everything is available to everyone everywhere.

Not True (1)

arcite (661011) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145436)

There is this little thing called the "Black market". I'm In Cairo and the iPad is on display for sale at many stores. Anything can be had at most places in the world, if the price is right. Globalization transcends import laws, regional formats, and exchange rates.

Re:Not True (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145584)

Just because Apple doesn't sell it from their website in a country does nothing to keep companies from importing it or even from apple selling it locally. Hell, there's a Polish version of the itunes store but not of the apple store. Official iphone launch there and all.

Fiefdoms (2, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145138)

My guess: international sales are a fief of various barons and counts of Apple corp. No interest in upgrading because it wouldn't serve the interest of whoever's in charge.

As an aside, wtf is up with the bizarre tone of the article? "What has Apple got against eastern Europe?" "Cold warriors"? WTF? Seems a rather strange take on disorganization inside a mega-corporation. Or is this all a giant case of projection, where journalists attribute their own undesirable feelings onto others?

Re:Fiefdoms (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32146058)

If there is one thing that Apple is not, it's disorganized. And there are no barons or fiefs at apple. Just one control freak emperor. So I think your underlying assumption is wrong and therefore I don't think the tone of the article is strange at all.

Its because doing business in Europe costs more (5, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145146)

For those complaining that Apple screws over it's non-US customers, take a look at the apple store Japan. Despite the really strong yen most things in the Apple store in Japan cost about the same(esp. when you consider that the 5% tax is already included) as they do in the US store, while those in Europe tend to cost a lot more.

Obviously part a big part of the discrepancy is the sales tax, but doing business in Europe just plain costs more. Shipping from China(where most of Apples stuff is made) to Europe is obviously more expensive than shipping to Japan or the US(largely because there isn't really a direct sea route), but thats only part of the reason.

European consumers and employees tend to enjoy a lot more protections under the law then those in the US and Japan. For instance tt costs more to hire(and fire) the European workers that man the warehouses and shipping facilities, Apple is responsible for paying to properly dispose of all electronics it sells, European consumers can make Apple pay for a much wider range of repairs to products then can consumers in the US or Japan etc.

Not saying whether or not these protections are good or bad, but many Europeans don't seem to realize that they certainly aren't free. If you want these protections then you are going to have to be willing to pay for them, otherwise if you want them then stuff is going to cost more, end of story.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145202)

Not saying whether or not these protections are good or bad, but many Europeans don't seem to realize that they certainly aren't free.

What do you mean? They ARE free, citizens of Europe don't pay anything for these protections. They are free by law.

What I've never understood is why we don't make a law to say ALL lunches are free!

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (2, Insightful)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145302)

What do you mean? They ARE free, citizens of Europe don't pay anything for these protections. They are free by law.

What I've never understood is why we don't make a law to say ALL lunches are free!

    Damn straight! Why should I have to pay for it? The government has a lot of money, they should pay!

   

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (3, Insightful)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145936)

Sadly, this is what a few people here actually believe.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145272)

Another thing is that we have much a longer warranty period on new goods than the US. Apple has to pay for all the repairs within this period too.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145450)

Well, that only matters if the product actually does break within that period.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145536)

How is that relevant? Are you implying Apple products never break down during the warranty period?

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (1)

dzfoo (772245) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145878)

No. He's probably implying that, generally, electronics tend to break down *after* their warranty period expired. Such is modern life, Murphy's Law and all.

      -dZ.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145298)

This is because Japanese value people's IP and do not steal. The higher costs in Europe and in Amerika are due to the fact that most USAians tend to have few if any morals, so Apple has to charge more to offset the losses due to piracy. Same reason shops have to charge more in bigger cities to offset losses from shoplifting. This is exactly why Nintendo is considering the DRM for their 3D stuff a crisis. No content makers want to hemorrhage losses due to IP thieves.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (2, Interesting)

Shin-LaC (1333529) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145494)

You're looking at the problem from the wrong end. It's not about costs at all, it's about how much people are willing to pay. European customers were used to paying more, so Apple had no reason to lower prices.

Recently, however, it seems that things are changing. Maybe it's because consumers are more conscious of their spending due to the economic situation; maybe it's the increasing pressure from low-cost PCs; maybe Apple simply wants to expand its market share in Europe at last.

Whatever the reason, the cheapest MacBook is now $999 in the US, and €902 in Italy. Take out the 20% VAT and you get €721.6, which at the current rate is just $919 - actually less than in the US store.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (2, Interesting)

mikael_j (106439) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146030)

Whatever the reason, the cheapest MacBook is now $999 in the US, and €902 in Italy. Take out the 20% VAT and you get €721.6, which at the current rate is just $919 - actually less than in the US store.

Yes it does seem like Apple has finally started to use the real exchange rate when calculating the value of the "Apple dollar", here in Sweden the cheapest macbook costs SEK 9995 with sales tax which comes to just over $1000 without the sales tax. But this is definitely something fairly new, it used to be that people joked about how the "Apple dollar" had a SEK 15 : $1 exchange rate even when the real dollar was at SEK 7 : $1. There was even some guy who made a blog post when the macbook pro first came out, in this post he detailed how he was able to fly to the US, purchase a US mbp + swedish keyboard, stay a night in a hotel and finally fly back for less than the cost of a mbp in Sweden...

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145542)

while those in Europe tend to cost a lot more.

Not really:

499$ = 391€

391 X 1,19* = 465€

+15€** = 480€

With 514 € that's a 34 € markup. That's 6,6%. Nothing to get your pants in a bunch about

And I actually don't know if there's some kind of custom duty, computers are normally free in Europe, but who knows ...

*19% german VAT (Mehrwertsteuer) which by law HAS to be included in the price when selling to private customers.

** German copyright "tax" (Urheberrechtsabgabe)

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (1)

asaz989 (901134) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145546)

Except that Israel is also on the no-direct-apple-sales list - not really the same situation economically as Europe. In fact, until about 2 years ago, they weren't even willing to put in the minimal effort to make iPods capable of displaying Hebrews (or Arabic, or Urdu, etc.) song titles. The fact is, they've decided that they're not even willing to put in the minimal amount of effort necessary to break into any new national market. Go figure.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145554)

Shipping costs nothing. Divide shipping costs by number of units. I'm European and I don't buy from companies like Apple or MS. Why? Because they are trying to rip me off. Unlike many others, I vote with my wallet, and they will never get any of it.

Actually, not. (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145572)

Gah, posted as AC, let's try again:

those in Europe tend to cost a lot more.

Not really:

499$ = 391€

391 X 1,19* = 465€

+15€** = 480€

With 514 € that's a 34 € markup. That's 6,6%. Nothing to get your pants in a bunch about. The 499 € in France and Italy show clearly that they use psychological pricing, if people pay 480 €, they'll as likely pay 499 €.

And I actually don't know if there's some kind of custom duty, computers are normally free in Europe, but who knows ...

*19% german VAT (Mehrwertsteuer) which by law HAS to be included in the price when selling to private customers.

** German copyright "tax" (Urheberrechtsabgabe)

Re:Actually, not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145690)

France also has a stupid "tax" on storage media (that includes hard disks, blank CDs, blank DVDs and flash), intended to "compensate artists for piracy".

Re:Actually, not. (0, Troll)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145944)

That's a good thing, isn't it? If there's such a tax, you can download all the content you want. After all, you paid for it when you bought the storage medium.

Re:Actually, not. (1)

Freultwah (739055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145852)

Situation in Estonia:

MacBook White 2.26GHz/2GB/ 250GB/GeForce 9400M/SD — 15 690 kroons (VAT included, of course), appr 1 003 euros, i.e. 1 278 dollars.

With the New York sales tax (8,25% according to Google), the same object would cost 999 + 8,25% in NY, which amounts to about 1 081 dollars.

I still see an almost 200 dollar difference from the customer's point of view. It's an almost 20% markup. And it isn't as if the rents or wages are much higher here to justify such a premium, quite the opposite in fact. Of course, it's not Apple itself doing business here, it's all done through an authorised reseller. However, it only further proves the claim that Eastern Europe is not really on Apple's radar. Okay, one might say that shipping stuff to Estonia costs money. No argument there. But the same item costs 929 euros in Apple Store Finland, VAT included. Free shipping. Now, Finland is geographically just as far in the east (and farther in the north) than Estonia. There's a sea between between Finland and the rest of Europe. For some reason, stuff still costs less there than 80 km in the south.

In the nineties, Apple stuff was so expensive here that people actually saved money by flying to the States, buying their tech over there and flying back. It was still cheaper than buying it locally. Granted, it was a different time back then, but still, way over the top.

Re:Actually, not. (1)

Udo Schmitz (738216) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146002)

Situation in Estonia:

MacBook White 2.26GHz/2GB/ 250GB/GeForce 9400M/SD — 15 690 kroons (VAT included, of course), appr 1 003 euros, i.e. 1 278 dollars.

999$ (US-Price excluding taxes) X 1,2 (20% Estonian VAT) = 1198 $

1198 X 12 (exchange rate) = 14385 EEK

With the New York sales tax (8,25% according to Google), the same object would cost 999 + 8,25% in NY, which amounts to about 1 081 dollars.

I still see an almost 200 dollar difference from the customer's point of view. It's an almost 20% markup.

No, it's a 9% markup. You can't blame Apple for different sales taxes.

Re:Actually, not. (1)

Freultwah (739055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146368)

No, it's a 9% markup. You can't blame Apple for different sales taxes.

Your maths is better than mine, but it still does not explain how the prices can be 8% lower 80 km away in Finland where VAT is 22% (as opposed to 20% in Estonia), shipping is arguably more expensive, and rents and wages higher. It could be that Apple's hardware is more expensive to resellers so that they could never compete with official Apple stores in the same area. I don't know. I am not even complaining much, since the premium stays in the country. I was merely pointing it out that two-tier pricing does exist. Some countries just don't get the Apple love and therefore must pay extra for the hardware and be without the iTunes store.

Re:Actually, not. (2, Informative)

barzok (26681) | more than 4 years ago | (#32146014)

With the New York sales tax (8,25% according to Google), the same object would cost 999 + 8,25% in NY, which amounts to about 1 081 dollars.

FYI, in the US (or at least NY), there's a state sales tax, then each county has their own sales tax on top of that. The NY state sales tax is 4%, the remaining 4.25% you found was for whatever county you were looking at. Presently the county sales tax range from 3% to 4.75% in NY.

And there are some items which the state doesn't charge tax on, but some counties do.

Plus, some sales are taxed based upon where you live, not where you made the purchase. If I purchase a car in a county where the total sales tax is 8.75%, I'll only pay 8% because I the county I live in is 8% and the county the vehicle is first registered in is used for the tax.

Uh, dude. Japan's not in europe! (-1, Troll)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145588)

take a look at the apple store Japan.

Refer to europe, but talk about Japan. Sounds like someone's geography lessons didn't get past the 48 states. Do you work for Apple marketing, by any chance?

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (1)

trifish (826353) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145674)

What are you talking about? Apple is shipping to Europe. TFA is about eastern European countries that are members of the EU, NATO, etc. and have been out of communism for 20 years. The EU countries have the same laws regarding intellectual property.

TFA begins with this tag line: "What has Apple got against eastern Europe?"

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (1)

SakuraDreams (1427009) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145870)

As someone who was born and grew up in Eastern Europe I think countries such as those making up the Visegrad Group should push the EC, and citizens of those countries should petition the European Parliament to FINE Apple until they equalise their inventory across the EU. If Apple refuse, Apple should be kicked out of Europe. They can peddle their wares in Japan, China and the US. That's really the only approach. The European Union is meant to mean something and foreign companies which disregard that should be forced out or change their ways.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145704)

I'd disagree about European labour costs. It's cheaper to employ a person and fire them in the uk than almost all other developed nations. And yet the uk pays the highest premiums.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (1)

matt4077 (581118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145762)

Real costs are usually just a lower bound for the price. The price gets set by what the market will accept. Europeans are probably just less price-sensitive.

Re:Its because doing business in Europe costs more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32146054)

The suez Canal. There is a direct shipping route, and it works quite well thank you.

Currently, and for the last year, International shipping is in such a dire situation that you can ship things at a massive discount... so now surely would be the time for apple to take advantage of all those near bankrupt Greek shipping firms with their ships at anchor permanently.

As regards employment laws and consumer protections... the countries that apple Doesn't do business with, Eastern Europe, are the ones WITHOUT those protections. France and scandanavia probably have the highest cost of doing busines and the strongest protections, and thats where Apple is.

VAT (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145184)

Presumably the author already knows that the UK listed prices are so high because VAT is included, since they're legally required to include VAT in the advertised price....right author?

Typical BS blaming Apple instead of government (3, Funny)

gig (78408) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145416)

Apple makes just 1 of each product for the whole world in almost every case. The only difference between an iPhone bought in San Francisco and one bought anywhere else is the government in question. There are not "US editions" and "international editions." Apple does not even make proprietary Verizon or Sprint iPhones to serve the US cell market of 3 overlapping monopolies, they run on AT&T only in the US because it's the only US carrier that is compatible with the world. So not only are these criticisms of Apple misguided, they're entirely opposite. International customers should be praising Apple for providing them with the exact same product.

Apple even sells power adapters that are worldwide-compatible. They have a "World Travel Adapter Kit" which is simply a set of various international plugs. You simply pull the US plug off your MacBook, iPad, iPhone, or iPod adapter and plug on the correct plug for where you are and it just works.

  Is there any other US corporation that is so internationally-minded?

Re:Typical BS blaming Apple instead of government (-1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145576)

Apple does not even make proprietary Verizon or Sprint iPhones to serve the US cell market of 3 overlapping monopolies, they run on AT&T only in the US because it's the only US carrier that is compatible with the world.

Hahahaha. The iPhone is only on ATT because ATT paid apple the most for the privilege. T-Mobile also uses GSM but like Sprint they're too small to pay the proper bribes. but by the time the ATT contract runs out with Apple I'm sure Verizon will have ponied up the right payoff to get the iphone on their network.

Apple even sells power adapters that are worldwide-compatible. They have a "World Travel Adapter Kit" which is simply a set of various international plugs. You simply pull the US plug off your MacBook, iPad, iPhone, or iPod adapter and plug on the correct plug for where you are and it just works.

Is there any other US corporation that is so internationally-minded?

Every company in the world? Go look at most any power adapter one day. Know what it says? 100-240V, 50/60hz. Yes, even the one that came with the dubious Chinese toy that's likely to set your house on fire one day. $10 plug converter set and it'll work anywhere in the world.

Or you can pay apple $40 for it.

So yes, apple is very internationally minded. They know exactly how to milk the idiots across all international divides for their money. Enjoy.

did anyone read the article? (1)

vacarul (1624873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145422)

"For Apple, the eastern half of Europe is still both terra incognita and non desiderata."

It's not about different laws in different countries, or higher taxes or costs. It's about not being able to select your country (in the drop-down list). And when you take a look at what countries you can select vs. countries you can't select, you will notice that it doesn't make any sense.

"Clearly the size of the market is not the determinant. China and Russia don’t appear, but Luxembourg does. It is not about prosperity: Iceland—which, believe it or not, is still one of the richer countries in the world—is out, whereas Vietnam is in. Political freedom or the rule of law are not the binding factors. The Philippines and Thailand are on the list, whereas impeccable democracies such as Slovenia are not."

Re:did anyone read the article? (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145640)

No, it makes perfect sense. It's just that you and whomever wrote the article can't figure out what the reason for it is. So instead of investigating they try to flame Apple. Great piece of journalism.

For example, Iceland is NOT richer than Vietnam. Per capita it is but in raw numbers the communist state wins by almost an order of magnitude. Of course, for apple neither number matters. Market size versus localization cost might but only among many other factors. Of course, if the author didn't misrepresent basic facts he'd need to do actual work which is hard.

It's also not like you can't buy the product, yo just can't buy it on the apple store website. Did you know that despite not having an apple store local version there was an official iPhone launch in Poland? Amazing that a single website does not fully describe what a company is doing. But there pops up that whole journalism, research and work issue. Hard to masturbate for 20 hours straight if you have to go out and do any of that stuff.

Different laws and higher costs are suggestions people are making for why apple is doing this. You know, the thing that a journalist should have done before writing this sort of article?

There's tons of other ones including local business contracts, lack of local knowledge and so on.

Re:did anyone read the article? (1)

vacarul (1624873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145758)

"if the author didn't misrepresent basic facts he'd need to do actual work which is hard"

Basic fact: I can't select my country. Another basic fact: none of the smart people from this forum, including you, can't come up with a plausible reason for this.

There's tons of other ones including local business contracts, lack of local knowledge and so on.

no contacts or local knowledge for... China?

The reality is that Apple and for example Google are big (almost global) companies, but they are having problems trying to keep up with the Internet.

Re:did anyone read the article? (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145924)

Yeah, Iceland's a great market. Assuming they get 100% market penetration, they'll sell 37 units. No, 38; Bjork had a kid.

Apple is in on it too, y'know (0, Offtopic)

kronosopher (1531873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145448)

Apple either hasn't been aware of political and social changes in the world over the last 20 years

Can you really blame them? MOST people are unaware of contemporary economic and social changes over the last 20 years. There seems to be no shortage of what people, despite their own best interest, fail to know or understand. For example, most people don't know that among many others corporations, Apple artificially inflates their market value by misrepresenting their risk. And that Apple's capital is actually worth half of its perceived value, along with most companies who directly or indirectly supported the incremental establishment of a parasitic shadow banking institution which has now compromised more than half of the WORLD market. But hey, Wall Street has never shown signs or publicly admitted the existence of a shadow banking system, so I guess that means I'm a whacko conspiracy theorist. Only when this parasite stops working in symbiosis with legitimate institutions and instead attacks its host in order to systematically consolidate power will people begin to believe the countless voices who warned against Wall St and the Fed to begin with(otherwise known as conspiracy theorists).

Oh well, I must be deranged to believe my eyes when I see the market spiral out of control, encountering practically no resistance, with such velocity that explosives must have been planted in the building..err I mean someone mistyped "b" instead of "m". Give me a break, this market short-circuiting "bug" was a staged event with which the bankers will leverage propagandized public opinion to steamroll over any semblance of free market, essentially dismantling U.S. sovereignty and leaving us, the American people, homeless on the continent our forefathers conquered.

Understand, the inception of the fed was over 100 years ago. Our economy has experienced relative stability during the course of most of that time. We gave the fed the right to artificially reduce interest rates, print fiat fake currency, and sell off massive portions of our debt to other nations as collateral. The cracks in the financial dam had accumulated en masse, though most were not aware of such weakness, the dam has COLLAPSED and the shadow banking system is EXPOSED. The same bankers who created this cluster fuck will swoop in and "punish the wicked"(buy small fish out) and consolidate the rest of the wealth. Meanwhile, the American and world populations believe that vengeance against the bankers will come in the form of "comprehensive financial reform." Again, while thats exactly the kind of reform we need, it is far from what we will get. The bankers are writing legislation to fix a problem they caused in the first place. Seriously, fool me once?

Re:Apple is in on it too, y'know (1)

kronosopher (1531873) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145484)

Excuse me. It's late. Fed was 97 years ago [wikipedia.org] , not over 100.

Say what you want, but (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145452)

Apple will never replace [trollaxor.com] Darwin with Linux.

Apple sales worldwide can be annoying (3, Interesting)

dafing (753481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145468)

As a New Zealander, living in a country of a voluminous FOUR million, it sucks being left out. Yes, the NZ release of the iPad has been announced...but its been a long time for many NZ Apple fans, I bet many worldwide have been annoyed.

The first iPhone sold in NZ was the 3G. I imported an Original iPhone, it ended up costing me $790 NZD ($564 odd USD) all up, and I run it on a prepaid plan, no set monthly costs. The 3G iPhone would have cost over 1000 NZD new, so I saved A LOT of money, *AND* had a product months before it was released in my country. A Win Win situation!

Sadly my iPad will have cost me more than if I had waited, but I stick by my decision to buy an import when I did. I've had my iPad for a couple weeks now, and an extra hundred odd dollars is worth it to me. I remember going slowly insane over the NZ iPhone wait...hearing every single blog on the internet (even the gardening sites!) talk talk talk about the iPhone...how great it is, how wonderful, who needs Jesus when we have this wonderful iPhone....I'd rather pay a couple hundred more than have to put up with that for months, especially when the dates are "to be confirmed".

But hey, if the worst thing you have to whine about in life is that you have to wait a couple months for the latest gadget....perhaps I shouldnt be complaining :)

Re:Apple sales worldwide can be annoying (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32146244)

I think they said this before, but to me, that sounds like a high-school mega-hot "girlfriend": She put you on hold, she let you waiting, she doesn't care about you, and she doesn't treat you well, yet you still pay for her dinner and stuff.

I'm a Shark! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145534)

In the immortal words of the shark:

I've got a PROXY, I've got a PROXY, suck my DICK, I've got a PROXY!

Free trade within EU (3, Insightful)

xerent_sweden (1010825) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145702)

All the computers are shipped from China via the Netherlands anyway, so having business in each country seems like a bad idea. Why not have a single EU store and headquarters, much like in the US? Besides, because of free trade within the EU, a swedish customer can just order one from Germany - and pay German taxes - no swedish VAT added, for example.

Re:Free trade within EU (3, Interesting)

RoscBottle (937276) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145896)

Wrong. If you order from another EU country the company is required to charge your local VAT. It is mainly luxury and media taxes that can be dodged, but only if they're charged at the engros level or later. For example; I can (and do) avoid paying the Danish media tax on writable discs by ordering from Germany, but I still pay Danish VAT. The evil Swedish goverment insidiously charges the insanely high luxury-tax on snus at production level, so I get to pay that AND Danish VAT, even though I live in Denmark (where the tax on smoke-free tobacco is a more lenient less than 10€/kg). Yes, an opinion irrelevant to TFA snuck in, but there you are.

Re:Free trade within EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32145986)

So you are saying that if I buy something from a store in say Germany and get it shipped to me in the UK, I pay the UK VAT and not the German one?

Bullshit!

I recently bought some after market parts for my BMW K100 from a shop in Koln. I paid the German TVA. No mention of UK VAT anywhere.
I used to run my own business which was VAT registered. On the VAT Return, there are columns for reporting the sales & VAT for sales outside your own country but interestingly, there is no place to record it by country.
I sold some stuff to France and charged the buyer UK VAT. I don't have to go searching for the VAT rate of a particular item in say Latvia. I just charge them the applicable VAT rate in my home market.

Re:Free trade within EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32146146)

Yeah and pay a 25% toll fee upon arriving in sweden...

Not just Apple (1, Interesting)

dmesg0 (1342071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32145718)

Google is even worse in this regard, you can't buy applications on the android market if you are not from a few select countries [wikipedia.org] .

Thankfully most apps are free, and if one really wants to buy something, it can be done elsewhere - no single app market limitation like with the iph*ne. It's also easy to install MarketEnabler hack on rooted phones (makes google think you're in the US). But I really fail to understand why no-evil Google is doing that

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