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Apple Bans Online Sales In Japan 237

Posted by kdawson
from the bricks-are-our-friends-and-mortar-too dept.
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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Apple Bans Online Sales In Japan

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  • What next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fluffeh (1273756) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:03AM (#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? (Score:5, Informative)

      by e4g4 (533831) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:07AM (#32010260)
      You have to sign a lot of papers to sell new Apple products at retail.
      • So tell me, (Score:3, Funny)

        by Cryacin (657549)
        When, oh when, will we all wake up and give Jobs the title he so sorely deserves?

        Der Führer!
    • by node 3 (115640)

      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.

      • by tagno25 (1518033)

        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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by txoof (553270)

        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? (Score:5, Informative)

          by michaelhood (667393) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:38AM (#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? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by obarthelemy (160321) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @05:37AM (#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: (Score:2, Informative)

        >>>If the company you sold it to does something you don't want them to, you can choose to no longer sell to them

        That may be legal elsewhere like Japan, but in the US it violates the Sherman Antitrust Act. It's called collusion and forming a cartel, and the Record Companies were sued by several U.S. States and the US DOJ circa 2000 for violating it. The record companies told discount stores, including Walmart, that selling CDs for less than $12 was unacceptable, and they should either raise prices

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dark_requiem (806308)
      It's called the First Sale Doctrine [wikipedia.org]
      • Re:What next? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lxs (131946) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:36AM (#32010916)

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

        • Re:What next? (Score:4, Informative)

          by Heian-794 (834234) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:13AM (#32013152) Homepage

          If Japan *were* to somehow amalgamate with the US, the 47 prefectures, each of which has a population of roughly one-third to one-half of the typical US state, would become the 51st to 97th states.

          Why is it that when people want to point out that Country X is an independent nation and not part of the USA, they always make an entire country equal to one single US state? Is it just because they can't be bothered to find out how many states/provinces/prefectures Country X actually has?

          If Japan *did* become the 51st state, the State of Japan would get more than twice as many electoral votes as California, and would thus quickly come to dominate all presidential elections, as well as the House of Representatives. Demagogues like Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara and incompetents like Prime Ministers Yukio Hatoyama and Yoshiro Mori would become major US political figures. If you thought Bush and Obama were trouble, wait until you meet these guys...

          At least we Mac users in Japan would get to buy our stuff from various retailers, though. And we could pay cheap domestic shipping!

          • by MBGMorden (803437)

            Why is it that when people want to point out that Country X is an independent nation and not part of the USA, they always make an entire country equal to one single US state? Is it just because they can't be bothered to find out how many states/provinces/prefectures Country X actually has?

            Most likely because that's the way the US was originally setup (with the states essentially being independent countries with a loose Federal government). Sure we've lost track of that original ideal (that's effectively what the US Civil War was about), but it was the original intent. Back then (and now, outside of the context of the US) "state" was synonamous with "country".

            Pair that with the fact that geographically most US states are the size of countries from many other places (Japan may be densley pop

          • Re:What next? (Score:4, Insightful)

            by teknomage1 (854522) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @01:34PM (#32017912) Homepage

            If Japan *did* become the 51st state, the State of Japan would get more than twice as many electoral votes as California, and would thus quickly come to dominate all presidential elections, as well as the House of Representatives. Demagogues like Tokyo mayor Shintaro Ishihara and incompetents like Prime Ministers Yukio Hatoyama and Yoshiro Mori would become major US political figures.

            Right, but if they become 47 states, they will dominate the senate by adding 94 new senators. I don't think that solves the problem.

      • 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.

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        First Sale Doctrine is a US legal concept, TFA is about Japan.
      • 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? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MikeFM (12491) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:51AM (#32010670) Homepage Journal
      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.
    • 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: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by tehcyder (746570)

      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.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        > 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.

        If they end up with similar levels of market penetration, I'm all for that.

    • by c (8461)

      > 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.

      You do, however, have the ability to control whether than company gets any future products from you. That's quite a bit of leverage if your products are in sufficiently high demand.

      It also wouldn't surprise me if Apple has contracts with retailers covering that sort of thing, along with stuff like not shipping before an actual release date and whatnot,

      c.

    • by Thansal (999464)

      Apple has 2 things going for them:
      1) They probably have contracts saying "we can dictate when/where you can sell our products".

      2) They can ALWAYS say "well, we will stop selling you our products if you don't stop selling online".

      Apple gets to negotiate from a position of strength here. They are a large enough company that they can take the hit from a single store no longer selling their products. If you want an i you want an i not an MP3 player, a tablet, or what ever, so if your preferred store doesn't s

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Surely the best way to deal with an 'aura of cheapness' is to raise the price of the product.

      Their slogan could be: "Apple, reassuringly expensive".

  • News of the day (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MemoryDragon (544441) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:05AM (#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.

    • by node 3 (115640)

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

      • Re:News of the day (Score:5, Informative)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:24AM (#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.

    • by Nirvelli (851945)
      He's been claimed by the Smoke Monster.
    • by mjwx (966435)

      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.

    • by FreeUser (11483) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @06:43AM (#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."

      • I think I can boil that down for you. You can have all the taste and all the money in the world, but neither will buy you class.

    • No, it's not just you. I also get the feeling that SJ's behaviour has become far worse since he had his brush with death. My thinking is that he probably realised his mortality and then decided that he absolutely had to achieve his life goals before he died and that he might not have a lot of time. This has resulted in his recent paranoid and highly intolerant behaviour, even more so than before.

      At the moment, Apple is the public's darling and end-users don't care as long as their toy works, but as soon as

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

  • Cheapness? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:14AM (#32010338)
    newspapers suggest that Apple believes online shopping confers an aura of 'cheapness' on their products

    That certainly explains Apples App store.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Trepidity (597)

      also, store.apple.com

      • by MikeFM (12491)
        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.
    • by zalas (682627)

      What is the source for that, anyway? It's not mentioned in the linked article. Since Apple products are still on sale on Amazon Japan, people have speculated that retailers like Yodobashi did not like some new online sales agreement pushed down from Apple. What's amusing is that according to the linked article, you can still order from Yodobashi's website and simply pick up the items in person at the store.

  • Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Wildclaw (15718) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:17AM (#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.

    • by MikeFM (12491)
      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: (Score:2, Troll)

      by tehcyder (746570)

      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.

    • by gtall (79522)

      I think there is something a bit odd by calling computers a free market. It is similar to the car market. There's not a lot of difference between Ford and GM, but there is between Ford and Mercedes. Ford and Mercedes both sell cars, but they are not interchangeable. I don't see a lot of difference between HP computers and Dell computers, both run the same software and they appear interchangeable, the free market more or less works if we forget about the nutlock MS has on them. There is a big difference betw

    • by pizzach (1011925)

      People scoff at image, but I do believe the company shapes the image as much as the image shapes them and their product. Apple had developers and users who were fanatical about the user interface and it showed. The Wii is now seriously starting to get a cheap image from software, which begs more cheap software as game snobs ignore the good software that is actually released for it. (Big fat cycle.) If Linux loses the hacker image, you won't see so many tinkerers come to it.

      It's all image.

    • by ProppaT (557551)

      Apple is like Sony, they're willing to do anything to maintain the mystique of being "high end" even if they're pumping out products with problems. The main difference is that Apple isn't as massive in scale and size as Sony, so they haven't totally lost touch of the consumer base.

      Either way, I think Apple is confusing the word "cheapness" with "affordability." If someone is selling an Apple product on a website and I can use a coupon code or something, that makes the product more affordable. Also, if I

  • by Shag (3737) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:24AM (#32010434) Homepage

    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?

    • by TedRiot (899157) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:18AM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kenja (541830)
      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.
    • by mjwx (966435) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @05:00AM (#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.

  • 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?

  • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jack2000 (1178961) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:44AM (#32010616)
    And nothing of value was lost.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:49AM (#32010654) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • *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 we

      • 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.

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          "The computer for the rest of us" should be able to "play anything" and easily assimilate any content you happen to have.

          All the iPad does is put up artificial restrictions on a platform that was already working well enough already.

          This is why many of us have declared that Apple has abandoned it's old users.

          Apple wasn't kept alive all those years by people interested in glorified VCRs.

          In the new Apple, wanting to use top 10 Mac downloads suddenly makes you a "geek".

    • by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:54AM (#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.

      • 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.

        Said the stock holder to the purchaser.

    • by Weezul (52464)

      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 opt

    • Yea this is why (Score:5, Insightful)

      by arcite (661011) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @06:30AM (#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.
    • Greed eventually kills all companies. It's the same old story:

      1. Look, we could make much more money by locking customers into our product!
      2. Uh oh, profits are not increasing for some reason. Increase prices! More lock-in!
      3. Damn, we've driven away all our customers. No more profit.

      And if the company somehow manages to linger on:

      4. Surely that was not our fault. Buy more legislators! Find someone to sue!

  • The "experience" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:50AM (#32010660) Homepage

    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.

    • 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 f
    • Apple buys back supply from offending sellers at full retail price = OK

      Why should they buy it back at a higher price than they sold it at?

      • by erroneus (253617)

        YES. They are interested in halting the types of sale of Apple branded products by people who already own them. If they were to simply reclaim them at reseller's prices, they would deny the retailers their profits from those items. Those profits are also worthy of compensation. And how would these retailers escape their tax liability for such a sale? Perhaps the sale might be considered a transaction reversal, but perhaps not -- I don't know the rules and laws about sales tax in Japan. (I do know that

        • YES.

          NO. Phear my awesome debatink skillz!

          They are interested in halting the types of sale of Apple branded products by people who already own them.

          No they aren't, because there's no way they could. What they can do is strip their authorized/approved status and refuse to supply them in future if they don't comply.

          If they were to simply reclaim them at reseller's prices, they would deny the retailers their profits from those items. Those profits are also worthy of compensation.

          Until the goods are sold on an

  • 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.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      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?

      • It is in the US because a lot of states have sales tax that doesn't get charged when you buy online, however in places like Europe and Japan that have a national sales tax a lot of the advantage disappears.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    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.

  • by pklong (323451) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @04:13AM (#32011100) Homepage Journal

    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

    • You probably don't know this, but back in the early 90s that's exactly how it was in the UK. The only way to buy a Mac was to go to an Apple approved store. You would then place an order for the Mac you wanted... and leave. When the Mac arrived, you'd go back and collect it.

      Prices were typically 100% higher than in the USA. People would literally fly to New York to buy a Mac and bring it home, because it was cheaper than buying one in the UK.

      As for software prices, don't get me started...

      So it sounds like A

  • by Charcharodon (611187) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @05:51AM (#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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Whuffo (1043790)
      We're already much of the way towards this end. It was just a few short years ago that any competent notebook would cost $3000 or more. Now you can get competent notebooks for $600 and the prices continue to slide; it's another race to the bottom. When laptops get there, they'll be in the province of Wal-Mart and KMart.
  • They don't seem cheapened by that. I wonder why it cheapens them in Japan?
  • Hm. Amazon.co.jp is still selling Apple products online.

    Clearly, there is no "ban on online sales". Slashdot really shouldn't post stories based on Google translation.

    Whatever is going on is more nuanced than the submitted story has been able to grasp.

    It might be about online shops selling for below MSRP, but I can't see any reason why street retail shops couldn't do the same.

    • On April 23, Yodobashi Camera announced through their online sales site "Yodobashi.Com" and their telephone sales service "Moshi Moshi Yodobashi" that they are discontinuing sales of Apple products. Sales at their retail stores will still continue.

      According to Yodobashi Camera, "it has become the case that [they] can no longer sell any Apple products, including iPods, MacBooks, iMacs and related accessories." Furthermore, they say that it was "according to the wishes of Apple."

      Customers can continue to use the "store pick-up" service where they order an item online at Yodobashi.Com and pick up the item in person at a store. They can also continue to determine whether a product is in stock through their "in stock inquiry service."

      "We have no comments beyond what has been said online" is the statement from Yodobashi Camera.

      With regards to online sales of Apple products, many other high volume retailers such as Bic Camera and Yamada Denki have similarly stopped. Bic Camera also stated that they cannot comment on what led to this, but vehemently state that "since you can pick up ordered items at the store, we don't believe it should be that big of an issue."

      In addition to high volume retailers, Mac-specific small-time shops "Akihabara Mac Collection" and "kitcut" that were selling Apple products through Rakuten [an online market place in Japan] have also stopped sales. (However, kitcut as of this writing, April 26, still continues selling products on their own site.) Furthermore, upon seeing many Rakuten shops having marked [Apple items] as "out of stock" or "no longer available", one might be able to say that this issue is a life and death situation for online shops who do not have physical storefronts.

      With so many retailers stopping online sales of Apple products, Apple's very own "Apple Store" still continues to sell them, unsurprisingly. Furthermore, the foreign-owned Amazon continues to do so as well.

      As of April 26, Apple has not made an official announcement and refuses to comment on the situation.

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