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Scalpers Spur Apple To Require Reservations For iPhone 119

thana103 writes "Apple is attempting to block scalpers by instituting new restrictions preventing walk-in sales of the iPhone at Apple Stores in China. Customers must first reserve an iPhone on Apple's website before visiting an Apple Retail Store to complete the purchase."
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Scalpers Spur Apple To Require Reservations For iPhone

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  • hmmk? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @10:48AM (#33851874)

    So now the scalpers won't have to get off their butts early to go buy some iphones and will just have to be faster than everyone else in the comfort of their homes?

  • Re:Apple advise (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @10:54AM (#33851900)

    I keep imagining Steve Jobs & mates having a laugh about all this.

    Executive 1: It works. If we force them to pre-register they still eat it up.
    Steve Jobs : Lets see what else we can do.
    Executive 2: How about requiring all purchasers to wear a turtle-neck?
    Steve Jobs : Maybe but not enough.
    Executive 3: We could make an even more broken product. How about no antenna this time?
    Steve Jobs : I love it. We'll say its to reduce radiation.
    Executive 4: But then the phone wont work.
    Steve Jobs : The iPhone isnt about a phone its about owning shiny apple products.

  • iBay? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:10AM (#33851974) Journal

    Scalpers exist wherever there's a shortage. Shortages exist wherever the price of something is held below what the market will bear. So it seems the best way to eliminate scalpers is to raise the price.

    Perhaps an auction would be called for here.

  • Re:Apple advise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ardeez ( 1614603 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:36AM (#33852148)

    It's weird. Every time Apple do something that appears on the face of it to be consumer friendly,
    somebody's gotta have a bitch about it.

    >I keep imagining Steve Jobs & mates having a laugh about all this.

    Actually, I imagine, like any responsible business they sat around and thought
    how best to stop these enterprising people who couldn't give a fuck about Apple from
    keeping their legitimate customers from having the device they want at the time they want it.

    But hey, if you're an evil bastard yourself then I guess you're going to expect others to be the
    same as you, and thereby miss the obvious truth of the matter.

  • what? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by ILuvRamen ( 1026668 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:04PM (#33852354)
    That doesn't make an ounce of sense. If you can just walk into a store and buy an iPhone, you can't scalp it because anyone can do that (until they run out). If you need a reservation, that makes it harder to get the iPhones which means the scalpers would get reservations as early as possible and scalp them even higher. I guess it somewhat prevents scalpers from buying like a dozen of them but really doesn't help the problem.
  • Re:iBay? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:05PM (#33852360) Homepage Journal
    That would solve exactly nothing(well, it would alienate and piss off a lot of Apple's customers). Since Apple would still be required to take returns and refund the purchase price having an auction would still mean that buying up tons of iPhones would be an almost 0 risk proposition to the scalpers whilst simultaneously allowing the scalpers to become even more efficient because they can create snipe bots etc that can always make sure they are the top bidder(and then turn around and try to sell it for more.
  • by Graff ( 532189 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:14PM (#33852428)

    I'm not calling any negative situation any name with gate at the end. It was stupid the first time anyone did it after the Watergate affair and it's only gotten worse with time. Give it up now or keep looking stupid when you say repeat the meme.

  • Re:Scalpers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthon ... m minus language> on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:45PM (#33852632) Homepage

    Both underwriters and car dealerships purchase in structured deals with contractual boundaries that set wholesale pricing structures.

    Scalpers are people who buy something at retail, turn around and sell it at retail for a huge markup, preventing other retail purchasers from buying at the merchant-set rate and intentionally causing scarcity issues. Think tickets for concerts, or the shortages of Wiis and PS3s when those first released.

    For example, most concerts and sports games are not truly sold out. Scalpers purchase blocks of tickets, and resell them at much much higher rates. Because of their profit margins, they have no incentive to sell all their tickets, causing an artificial scarcity. People who were willing to buy at the set price get blocked out, and the venue ends up with empty seats.

    Car dealers and stock underwriters on the other hand, have every incentive to sell every item they purchase. Unlike scalpers, they are providing a benefit to their service by organizing distribution and sales channels. In these situations, the original product source (IPO, factory) doesn't want to sell direct, they prefer to sell wholesale and let someone else take on that responsibility. Scalpers on the other hand are simply injecting themselves as an additional layer post-retail and do not add any value with their service.

    What the summary describes is clearly a scalper, someone who's taking advantage of a situation and causing even more scarcity issues and driving up prices, just to garner profit with little risk or added value.

  • by Quothz ( 683368 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:48PM (#33852656) Journal

    Same story with "price gouging" laws. Here's a hint: there's no such thing as price gouging.

    Yes, raising the price of food or medicine a hundredfold following a disaster that limits supply and access to alternatives is exactly the same as reselling an iPhone for profit. Because in both cases lives are at stake.

    While I would never hope there will be a disaster, they happen from time to time, and I truly hope you find yourself in a position in which you must give up your car, home, and life savings to get a few days' clean water for your kids. Maybe then you'll see the difference between that and paying fifty bucks over retail for a toy.

  • Logo (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:04PM (#33853226)

    It is not entirely obvious to me why of all the possible logos you could have chosen for this story you picked the Google logo.

  • Re:Scalpers? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:18PM (#33853330)

    Apple is asserting they have monopoly rights to underwriting their products. They don't.

    They do, in that the can choose who they sell to. In particular they can choose to only sell one per person until such point as the manufacturing ramp up covers demand.

    And it's all good if the filthy scalpers are cut out. And yes, scalpers (or touts in British vernacular) is exactly what they are, not underwriters.

  • Re:iBay? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:19PM (#33853340) Journal
    Scalpers create or contribute to the shortage. That, and not every company is out to gouge their customer to the maximum amount possible.
  • Re:Ya, right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:23PM (#33853374) Homepage

    The problem with doing that, is it devalues your brand...

  • Re:Apple advise (Score:2, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:37PM (#33853470) Journal

    It's weird. Every time Apple do something that appears on the face of it to be consumer friendly,
    somebody's gotta have a bitch about it.

    What exactly is "consumer friendly" about creating a false shortage?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:13PM (#33854784)

    Just because lives are at stake, that does not mean that the laws of supply and demand get overturned.

    Overturned? No. Altered? Yes.

    And by altered I mean do feel free to charge whatever exorbitant price you feel is appropriate for ice, food, water, medicine, etc. Just be aware of one thing. If you raise prices too high and you may find that some people will feel it is simply easier to take the goods from you without offering payment, although some may be generous and give you your life in return for your goods. The less generous will simply take your life and take your goods.

  • Re:Apple advise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @06:38PM (#33854930)

    The fact that Apple puts out a press release trumpeting the fact that you have to sign up at their web site in order to buy an iPhone.

    That is evidence of a shortage.

    They did this because scalpers are swooping in and buying them up to resell at inflated prices, which they can successfully do because there aren't enough in the stores for customers to just ignore them and buy directly in the store themselves.

    The fact that there aren't enough in the stores is direct evidence that there is a shortage.

    What is your evidence that it is a FALSE shortage.

    Do you believe that this story about this new requirement to buy an iPhone in China came from someone doing investigative journalism? No, it came from an Apple press release.

    Reporting on the iphone shortage issues in china predates this apple press release limiting people to one.

    The wii is another product that was seriously constrained for MONTHS after launch, and many retailers did similiar sorts of things to discourage and reduce the impact of scalpers.

    Was that a "false shortage" too? Of course not, Nintendo sold every single unit they could ship, and was expanding production as quickly as possible to build more. It was a real shortage.

    So again, do you have any evidence that this is a false shortage vs a real shortage?

  • Re:iBay? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @08:14PM (#33855390) Journal
    Yes, and that is many times I have seen companies do things that would indicate they are not out to gouge their customer to the maximum amount possible. If you look, you will see it too, unless your preconceived notions prevent it.

    Not too long ago, Costco had a choice to pay the stock-holders a higher dividend, or give their customers lower prices. They chose to give customers lower prices, and were punished for it by stock-holders. The thing is, companies are run by individuals, and not every individual is motivated by gouging their customer to the maximum amount possible.
  • Re:Apple advise (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Monday October 11, 2010 @06:30AM (#33857724)

    I'm sorry, but in what way are the people who are "swooping in and buying them" not customers?

    Who cares exactly what you classify them as?

    a) They don't benefit Apple by increasing sales. (Given there is a shortage, 100% of the product will move regardless.) They don't represent additional demand. They don't actually want the product except to resell it. Zero sum game.

    b) They hurt apple by pissing of many potential customers who see the phones they wanted to use being marked up 100% right in front of their eyes.

    Apple doesn't need scalpers, doesn't want scalpers, and has incentive to minimize their impact.

    Should I not be allowed to buy iPhones to give as gifts to my family because I'm not the end user?

    Of course you should be allowed. You should be allowed buy enough iPhones to fill up a swimming pool if you want. And Apple will be glad to sell you exactly that amount and as many more as they can dump on you, just as soon as they get enough out there.

    And is the fact that the stores are not getting enough of them really evidence that there is a true shortage?

    Yes. It is evidence of exactly that. It doesn't prove it, but it is good evidence for it. If Apple could double the number of units in China tomorrow they would. The iphone is not just a sale, but a revenue stream. There is zero benefit to creating a false shortage this bad. Sure maybe a very shortage or a couple high-profile sellouts to make the news is good PR and drive the hype machine... but there has never been a benefit to weeks on weeks of chronic shortages.

    In the meantime, is there any reason apple should not be allowed to ensure as many households as possible have a chance at getting on at regular retail price? Are you really *that* willing to dramatically increase your odds of getting 0 iphones just because it annoys you that you can't have 10 iphones during a period in the market where getting even 1 would be a pretty big score.

    It took me multiple weeks of trying to catch a Nintendo wii in stock. (And I waited for 5 MONTHS after launch before I even started trying.) I originally even had a reservation in place around launch, but the retailer cancelled it outright when they found out what their initial shipment numbers were going to be.) A manufacturer run reservation system would have been welcome.

    Sure it would have meant that I couldn't get one for my parents and brother as well. But expecting to get 3 in a market where it takes weeks to months to get even a one is just idiotic.

    Do we know that this "one customer/one phone" policy is not just a way for Apple to make sure that they have personal information on all iPhone users in order to better serve their "strategic partners" via advertising?

    Apple already has this through the activation of the iphone, its connection with your itunes account, and so on. So if they are creating a massive shortage to justify collecting information they already get... ... yeah... I think not.

    It's been some years since Apple has earned the "benefit of the doubt" when it comes to their business practices.

    They aren't cartoon villains though. This shortage doesn't benefit them. Period. And a step like this genuinely improves the odds that more endusers will be able to obtain a phone at retail, without going through a series of disappointment after long waits, where the entire stock is bought out by the first or second person in line who just carts them off to his ebay store.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger