“Apple Computer raised the stakes in the local MP3 player market by announcing yesterday that it will lower the price of its iPod only in Korea. The discounts are only for Apple’s hard-disk drive music players and exclude the iPod Shuffle, its cheaper flash-memory music player, which began sales here yesterday,” Wohn Dong-hee reports for The Joong Ang Daily. “Local representatives even asked the media to ‘keep quiet’ about the price cuts, saying that headquarters feared opposition from other Asian countries.”

“Kim Ji-hyun, a spokesperson for Apple Korea, said that the company wants to change people’s perception of the brand as an expensive one,” Wohn Dong-hee reports. “Lower prices of iPods give Apple a competitive edge in both flash-memory and hard-disk drive digital music player markets. At 125,400 won ($122), the 512-megabyte model of the iPod Shuffle is less than Reigncom’s 256-MB model, which was only recently lowered from 187,000 won to 149,000 won. A 20-gigabyte iPod now costs 363,000 won, instead of 418,000 won. The iRiver hard-disk model has only 5 GB of memory for the same price.”

Wohn Dong-hee reports, “But such a comparison is not fair, said Reigncom spokesman Kim Dong-hwan. ‘Our [iRiver] players have other functions such as radio and voice recording. It’s like comparing a huge van to a tiny sports car,’ he said. Although domestic companies claim that they are not worried, they admit that Apple’s presence is pressing them to lower costs as well. Reigncom lowered its hard-disk drive player prices last week; Geowon is doing the same for its flash-memory players. Meanwhile, they are looking at foreign markets, saying that the domestic market for MP3 players is already on the verge of saturation.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: “It’s like comparing a huge van to a tiny sports car.” Yes, sir, it is like that exactly. Hey, how do you say “it’s all over, boys” in Korean?

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