International discontent with Apple builds as non-U.S. users await iPhoto, iTunes feature parity

“Apple can’t afford to alienate a significant number of its overseas customers, as they represent a large chunk of the company’s total sales,” The Baltimore Sun’s David Zeiler writes.

Zeiler describes a forum discussion at the Macworld UK Web site where Mac users outside the United States complain of not being able to create and order bound iPhoto books. Users wonder why Apple is planning to launch iTunes for Windows in the U.S. before iTunes Mac users as close to the U.S. as Canada can use the iTunes Music Store.

Zeiler writes, “Of course, Apple may not intentionally set policies to antagonize its international customers. Some of it most likely is simply the consequence of doing business in many different countries, subjected to a myriad of laws and world market forces… Apple must do everything it can to preserve — and to grow — every pocket of its customer base, regardless of whether it is in Northern California, Britain or Japan. Otherwise, Apple risks further shrinkage of its global market share below the paltry 3 percent it has now.”

Full article here.

48 Comments

  1. iTunes is held up by other countries’ laws and companies–not by Apple.

    But it does sound like Europeans have legitimate complaints to direct at Apple: iPhoto, and Sherlock channels, and possibly the priority of hardware shipments (which I hear is good in Japan but not Europe).

  2. Dead right! I’ve been waiting since the iTunes store opened for access here in Canada and all I get is the same message each time: “The iTunes music store is not available in your country yet.” Combine this lack of service with the fact that an eMac starts at $1199, an iMac at $1799, a Power Book at $2299, a G5 at $2799 and you begin to get the picture.

    The worst part is that PC makers seem to recognize the need to price according to markets, which means that I can buy a PC here a cheaply as you can in the States. I really, really want to keep buying Macs and I’d love to upgrade my computer, but the way things stand, I’d have to be stupid to keep supporting Apple with their non-competitive approach to non US markets.

  3. Speaking as another Canadian I agree and disagree with Chris Wheeler.

    I agree with his frustration. I want to BUY my music! I’m tired of waiting for a best of CD to be able to purchase a CD with more than two good songs on it. Frankly I have a friend who knows someone in the US and he orders his music from downtown Toronto with his friends US credit card. So security isn’t Apple’s priority since they could easily check the originating ISP and stop his iTMS cross boarder shopping.

    I disagree because I think Apple equipment is an absolute deal right now. Sure an entry eMac is $1199 Canadian (lower if you can get Educational discounts). However if I look at any other brand name PC system at about the same price I’ll end up with inferior components. Especially in graphics, hard drive speed, monitor, audio, connectivity and overall component quality (keyboard, mouse etc.)

    Truth is if you want a decent PC you are spending $1500 Canadian so the eMac is a steal. Also there are plenty of Mac resellers competing for your dollar. MacWarehouse (now CDW), CompuSmart, Red Tag Computer/CPUsed, Carbon Computing, Simmply Macs, Clickit, CSC Systems, and many more. Plus we now have FutureShop (although limited in stock) and all of these are in the immediate Toronto area.

    In fact if you want to buy older technology at a lower price, CompuSmart in downtown Toronto has an iMac G4/800MHz for as little as $1650 Canadian. Again a terrific deal if you don’t mind a generation old computer. Check out CPUsed or Simmply Macs for a deal on older Macs.

    I spent $2,400 on my PowerMac G4/533MHz in 2001 and look what that will get you today.

    Truth is Apple’s pricing in Canada is pretty well consistent with the US (after exchange is considered). Apple continues to improve there product rather than “nose dive” the price. I commend them on this. The competition doesn’t care about the quality of their product just so long as the price makes you take it home.

    Remember “the sting of poor quality is remembered long after the price paid is forgotten”

    Just my 2�

  4. “If you went to BMW and asked them why they don’t outsell the Ford Taurus, they would say they don’t want to make that sort of car,” says Mr Jobs. “Apple has 25 million customers around the world, and our goal is to give them the best personal computer that we can, with the best operating system and some of the best applications.”

  5. Yeah, it is too bad copyright laws in Europe are different for different country. Apple – I believe – would like to launch iTMS Europe rather then drippling out iTMS France, iTMS UK, iTMS Italy, iTMS Spain, etc.

    Sherlock channels under scrutiny do not receive content from Apple.
    Kodak US deals with iPhoto in US. Maybe complains should be addressed to Kodak so to have its European subsidiaries provide the same service in Europe. Customers are beating the wrong dead horse.

    BTW, iTMS *is* available worldwide to US customers. It is *not* physical presence that is required. A US customer is identified as such if he uses a US CC with a US billing address. Period.

    PS
    First hand experience

  6. MDN, something wrong with the posts: if I reload “http://www.macdailynews.com/comments.php?id=1847_0_1_0_C” I am presented with an old view (missing many messages).

    if the URL has Cache=yes all messages do appear again. And yes, I tried deleting Safari cache as well.

  7. I can’t speak to hardware problems, as I’ve had no experience with non-US customers having problems.

    However, I can say that IMHO its not apple’s fault that they’ve been unable to secure the deals necessary to get the iTMS working in Europe. As apple told the inde labels, they are giving the same deal to them as they gave to the major labels- everyone gets the same deal. With all the different labels and subsidiaries of labels (etc) in each european nation, its no wonder apple hasn’t been able to get the deals. I bet these labels are all trying to write their own contract. Europeans should be complaining to their labels, not apple.

  8. “Some of it most likely is simply the consequence of doing business in many different countries, subjected to a myriad of laws and world market forces…”

    What a load of rubish. Every other multinatinal manages to do business in Europe why can’t Apple – they have no problems selling us the computers! if there is no iPhoto here it is because the don’t want to launch it – it is not as if we are short of printers and/or a part of the third world.

  9. the problem with iTMS I think is not so much the copyright laws in European countries .. those are not that different .. but probably there are more companies to deal with as in the US .. in US they had to deal mostly with the RIAA and the companies it represents .. in Europe there are more groups like the RIAA [for every country one .. if I am not wrong .. they represent the artist in the country] … other problem might be the tax laws .. you have to implement it into the billing system somehow .. i am not sure .. but in Europe the internet is not free.
    ….
    ….
    the other problem with Apple are the prices for Europe .. altough that is getting better …
    and other thing is software .. for example missing QuarkXPress Passport .. that is the international version

    the iPhoto doesn’t bother me that much .. only that I would like to remove those options so they are not in the way .. since i cannot use them

  10. “What a load of rubish. Every other multinatinal manages to do business in Europe why can’t Apple – they have no problems selling us the computers!”

    It took Apple months to hammer out a licensing deal with the five major labels for U.S. rights alone. Now they have to go through the same process for licensing deals in 15 countries simultaneously, each country with its own unique legal requirements, & in an environment where red tape is _far_ more restrictive than in the U.S. (Consider France, which has stringent laws mandating French content & restricting foreign ownership in the media. That alone is a huge problem for Apple. This is also one reason why iTMS is not yet available in Canada, which has similar ‘cultural’ laws.)

    There’s also the problem that EFT payments are subject to stiff bank charges when they cross borders within Europe. A �10 fee on a �2000 computer purchase is easy for the vendor to swallow; �10 on a �0.99 song purchase would be ludicrous.

    Load of rubbish? Not bloody likely. They just have to deal with 15 times as many lawyers, bureaucrats, & bloodsucking recording-industry executives (see especially: Apple Corps) as they did to open iTMS in one country.

    Incidentally, the cost of Macs in Canada is only about 5% higher than in the U.S. once you consider the exchange rate, & even that is only because the Canadian dollar has risen sharply against the U.S. dollar in recent months.

  11. To Jay:

    I was talking about iPhoto printing and sherlock etc.

    Apple is a great company but you Americans thing the world is centered around you – it isnt.

    By the way, in the EC we have a single currency and Apple is represented in each EU country so payment and bank fees are not an issue. Wanna sell Music in Spain – take a Spanish credit card. Problem solved.

  12. Without the musicstore for Windows, the Windows-version of the iPod isn’t going to fly (only 50% of the iPods are used with Windows, that’s small compared to the market share of Windows vs. MacOS).
    Without the musicstore in Europe, iPod sales in Europe won’t start to fly (assuming that the musicstore creates additional demand for mp3-players).

    I’m sure Apple is aware of this and working hard.

  13. So without blaming Apple necessarily for differing standards of services in US & everywhere else, why not reflect this in pricing of .Mac? Lower price in countries where .Mac supplies less to subscribers. Makes sense.

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