Monday, October 14, 2013


Sometimes you wonder whether people have heard of the internet.

I'm not talking about third world countries, mind you, I'm talking about in places like California.

Do people there realise that we can talk to each other worldwide?

Do they comprehend that I can't tell you something is worth $50, when you can easily find out I sell it for $10?

In what dimension could you possibly engage in that brand of two-faced commerce and expect to succeed?

This one, apparently.

I'm not talking about some viagra derivative seller out of Sierra Leone, by the way, I am talking about one of the world's largest companies.

Unfortunately, it's Apple.

It seems that Apple has been in bed with the major Hollywood studios and the music labels so long, that the tech company has started to act like them.

I wrote earlier this year about the 'Dirty Little Secret' of the cause of regional price differentials for movies and music on iTunes.

The case study I discussed, was the revelation that Australians pay 30% to 70% more on iTunes than Americans do for the same content. Everyone blamed Apple for the higher prices but, ironically, the tech company pointed out the real culprits.

The copyright holders.

The music labels and the studios. Forcing higher prices, for exactly the same content, on audiences in far flung geographic regions. Extracting more money out of dedicated audiences in places like Australia. Why?

Because they can.

Apple claimed the moral high ground and were rightly exonerated in this case. It's a good lesson for anyone, even you, on how to do business in the modern, connected 'Google' era. You can't run from transparency anymore. Wikileaks showed us that.

In business, as in life, honesty, it seems, is the best policy.

But unfortunately, Apple's benevolence was short lived.

This week, the new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C were announced for release. Their retail prices in America were US$649 for the 32GB 5C, and US$849 for the 64GB 5S.

In Australia?

AU$869 for the 32GB 5C, and AU$1,129 for the 64GB 5S. For exactly the same phone.

Even if you add in 10% GST and adjust for the exchange rate differences, the American price is STILL cheaper by over $100, for both versions of the phone.

And it amounts to little more than a 'you aint from around here, is ya?' tax.

It's a levy on customers who are not in America, for the sole purpose of gouging people for as much money as these companies can get away with.

Are they so stupidly short sighted?

It's like politics these days. The powerful people shut themselves off from other views, demonising the 'foreigners', while their citizens actually talk to each other online. That's why the citizens never want to go to war, but the politicians do. We know these, so-called, 'foreigners' aren't the enemy. They're our Facebook friends.

It's totally backward. A tech company either not caring or not realising that people from different countries would talk about the price they are charged for exactly the same phone.

And while Apple's leaders sit in a plush room, congratulating themselves for their genius idea to make an extra $100 per unit for the same phone in Australia, the citizens are talking. They've noticed the regional price difference.

And the citizens are turning against the once infallible iPhone.

How do I know?

'Android' phones now account for 80% of all smart phone sales in the world.

Play regional politics all you want, but ignore the citizens' voices at your own peril.

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