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Apple Bans Online Sales In Japan 237

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

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  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:19AM (#32010388) Journal
    Its like region coding for dvds. Some regions get DTS, tins and other fun stuff.
    Some parts of the world got a 16:9 movie and .. nothing.
    Apple wants to milk different parts of the world in different ways.
    From Japan to the Australian price bump on some products, if the herd pays, Apple will farm you.
  • by Shag ( 3737 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @02:24AM (#32010434)

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

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

    Shoe on the other foot?

  • 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.
  • Resale Contract (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:31AM (#32010890)

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

    Apple has different resale contract for online and offline.

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

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

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

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

    by txoof ( 553270 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @03:38AM (#32010920) Homepage

    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 [] 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?

  • 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 [] 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 [].

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

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

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @09:39AM (#32013512)

    Rule #1 - Any positive comments about Apple will get you modded troll it seems. Slashdot has turned from rational thinking and actual intelligent discourse in regards to Apple to simply "they are anti-geek or anti-hacker and therefore evil".

    It doesn't matter what the context or the content of the post is. Any 'fuck apple' will get an immediate 5 Insightful. Look to the top of this entire thread for a prime example.

    Apple gives plenty to the community:

    Clang, Blocks (in llvm), libdispatch (Grand Central Dispatch services), OpenCL, WebKit (including a whole new JavaScript VM), CUPS, Darwin, blocks, Bonjour, Calendar and Contacts Server, Darwin Streaming Server, launchd and XQuartz, MacRuby. Many of those not insignificant, and something which could have generated a lot of revenue in patents. I'm sure there are more, but those are just off the top of my head.

    They are a far more responsible corporation than some, but they ARE a company, and given who they are competing with, they have to protect their profits. Apparently they are supposed to simply allow anyone to use their patents and copyrights, and defending those patents will immediately make you even more evil, even if it's justified (something that has yet to be determined by the courts, but has already been decided here). They are also not allowed to control their product sales, terms of service, or anything else that is accepted in thousands of other products around the world, all because they have 'insulted' the geek crowd.

    I don't even know why I'm posting this. It will be modded into obscurity shortly anyway (see Rule #1).

  • Re:News of the day (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mzs ( 595629 ) on Wednesday April 28, 2010 @11:35AM (#32015670)

    They can keep launchd, have you ever had to look at it? It's a bunch of special cases and spaghetti code! I think the real reason launchd was created was because they did not want a shell on future products.

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.