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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.
  • 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.

  • Re:What next? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dark_requiem (806308) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:13AM (#32010332)
    It's called the First Sale Doctrine [wikipedia.org]
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:35AM (#32010534)
    I wanted to get a new Mac eventually, but since they're such dicks, I'll just get a badass PC and use EmpireEFI to install OSX on it.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Re:News of the day (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:54AM (#32010686)

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

  • Re: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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:51AM (#32010992)

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

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • 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."

  • by Whuffo (1043790) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @06:53AM (#32012008) Homepage Journal
    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.
  • Re:What next? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Altus (1034) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:11AM (#32015202) Homepage

    After the shitty way that retailers like comp usa treated apple products for so long, I really cant blame apple for being hardassed about retailers and requiring training.

    It wasn't that long ago, I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers it.

    Part of the reason there is an apple store is because of the poor treatment Apple got from traditional retailers and for a company that is all about customer experience that is simply unacceptable to them.

  • Re:What next? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rasperin (1034758) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @12:07PM (#32016280)
    Tell me, are you one of those who believes in giving up a little freedom is justified for security? What you are saying here is essentially that, and that is an absolutely frightening prospect.
  • 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.

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