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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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  • by penguinchris ( 1020961 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [sirhcniugnep]> on Sunday October 10, 2010 @10:51AM (#33851886) Homepage

    I have, on several occasions, walked into an Apple store solely to use the internet. Especially useful if you're out of the country and don't have a local sim card with data (assuming you're in a country and city with an Apple store and happen to be nearby it...) They don't seem to mind and the wi-fi is free and open, so if you have a smartphone you don't have to take up one of their computers (I have an N1 and an Apple Store worker in London gave me a dirty look for loitering in the store using that on their network - I guess he'd have been ok if it was an iPhone?)

    I don't really see how any system like this will stop dedicated scalpers... I am not sure why they don't just limit them to one per customer (one iPhone policy... ahem).

  • Scalpers? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by beaker8000 ( 1815376 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:16AM (#33852014)
    So when you buy an ipnone and resell it you are a 'scalper' with all the negative connotation. However if you buy IPO stock form a company and resell it you are an 'Underwriter', and if you buy cars from a company and resell it you are a 'Car dealership'.
  • Re:hmmk? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:28AM (#33852104)
    That was my thought. At the rate that iWhatevers sell out a bit of that non-removable ink on the thumb would do the trick. All this is going to do is prevent the bourgeoisie from hiring somebody to stand in line for them.
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:31AM (#33852122)
    Considering that Apple's thing for quite some time was to overcharge and make it into a luxury good, I'm not sure why they don't do that. People getting up early to buy out goods to flip aren't really the problem. The problem is in cases like sport and concert tickets where half the tickets are sold out before they go on sale. For something like the iPhone, I'm just not sure what the problem is.
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:37AM (#33852150)
    When they start selling the reservations they don't really own to other people, and people write it off as capitalism then they will truly understand American style free market economy.
  • Re:iBay? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:43AM (#33852184)

    Hmm I think Apple wants to eliminate the high price that people have to pay to get a phone, not the scalpers directly.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @11:53AM (#33852266) Homepage

    This is just because the retail outlet had a temporary traffic jam, not because it's a big deal. Foxconn can make more of the things than Apple can sell.

    I'm surprised the scalpers bother. They're only marking up the thing by 10%. All it takes is one truckload of new units to put them out of business and leave them stuck with inventory they'll have to sell below retail.

    That happened when the PS3 came out. People were buying them to sell on eBay. Once production ramped up, the resellers were desperately trying to unload their inventory at a loss.

  • by uglyduckling ( 103926 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @01:04PM (#33852782) Homepage
    I don't know about that 10%. In the UK, during the period when Apple were only shipping pre-ordered phones, they were selling on eBay for GBP 800-1200. That's a 40-100% markup. I very nearly sold mine on, but actually needed a working phone, diary and mobile email so decided to hang on to it.
  • Re:Scalpers? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by beaker8000 ( 1815376 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @02:36PM (#33853464)
    They don't have monopoly rights under the law, and rightly so. If you can get around the one per customer rule (how hard is that because it is not legally enforced) you can buy and resell the iphone. This is because we still have some moderate voices in government who can see through the name calling (and have probably taken a couple economics courses as well). And speaking of Brits, there is a Brit right now attempting to corner the market for cocoa beans (what you would call 'scalping'). Again, perfectly legal and rightly so.
  • Re:what? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VendettaMF ( 629699 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:04PM (#33853626) Homepage

    Actually, given that the scalpers are almost certainly in the employ of the store and get to buy the items in bulk before the store is open, this reservation system in the control of Apple outside of China is a futile effort that had to be made.

  • Re:Scalpers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @03:29PM (#33853800)

    (2) Apple can make more iphones. So the analogy to concert ticket sales in not apt.

    The analogy to PS2 and Wii scalpers does apply. And the situation arises not just because the supply is mere limited. The problem is the demand at the time exceeds the supply. For concert tickets, those particular shows are restrained and the artist is popular at the time. If the artists falls dramatically from popularity when they visit the next year, then there might not be the need for scalper

    If the 'scalpers' buy all the iphones, apple can make more to satisfy customers. Now, when the scalpers turn around and dump the iphones this will pressure the retail price, which is what apple doesn't like. So apple doesn't like scalpers because meeting scalper + retail demand may lead to lower prices - they lose price control.

    That assumes that (1) scalpers have no common sense and (2) Apple cannot control the manufacturing process in response to supply and inventory levels. Scalpers are not going to amass and later dump iPhones. The whole reason that they have any chance at a profit is that the current demand exceeds the current supply. If the supply is adequate, then scalpers have no market. If they hold onto the products too long, their profit margin dwindles as supply picks up. Certainly they can undercut the retail price but since they paid retail and not wholesale price they also undercut their profit margin.

    Apple sets prices and supply. If they products don't sell, they don't make as many and mark them down later in the year as they release new versions. Also Apple's retailers will do the same. If they have too many of a product, they order less or stop ordering.

    But whenever an underwriter gets in the middle, the seller loses price control. And this is absolutely to the detriment of the seller in IPO underwriting too. Research has shown IPO shares are consistently underpriced. Lastly, my point is throwing out pejorative names is misleading. Maybe we should call these people 'iphone liquidity providers' so they can get a fair discussion on their merits, and are not maligned from the start.

    Underwriting is vitally necessary as underwriters have the capital required where as few sellers have. Most sellers can't afford to underwrite a $200 million IPO in additional to normal business expenses. Also underwriters have the expertise on how to launch an IPO. Generally many businesses do not have experience with IPOs. Most of the time, they may have a small percentage of the company that dealt with it, but the rest of the company is more experience with the aspects of that business whether it be software, pharmaceuticals, etc.

  • Re:Scalpers? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @05:24PM (#33854540)

    It's not at all hard to get around the one per customer rule. But as it's one per credit card, it's enough to clip the scalpers wings.

    Now clearly YOU don't think there's anything wrong with scalping, just as spammers don't think there's anything wrong with spamming. But as far as the rest of us are concerned a rapid removal of both types of parasite from the gene pool would make the world a better place.

    And you're deluded if you think there's an economic justification. Scalpers don't provide a service. Every person who ends up paying multiple times the ticket price is someone who has been denied buying one at ticket price by the dirty scalpers. They are not far removed from thieves. Indeed many people combine those careers.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas