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View Full Version : European Mac fans call Mac Mini pricing unfair


MacBytes
Jan 18, 2005, 02:48 PM
Category: News and Press Releases
Link: European Mac fans call Mac Mini pricing unfair (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20050118154820)
Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)

Approved by Mudbug

TwitchOSX
Jan 18, 2005, 02:53 PM
Thats what ya get =)

24C
Jan 18, 2005, 03:00 PM
I saw this on the macworld uk website first, the Europeans have a point when the best an Apple representative can say "we have to allow for extra shipping costs and currency fluctuations"

OK on the first point, but come on when the US$ has been weak for so long and we don't see much change here. Maybe they should come clean and say the UK operating costs come out of this price hike, along with the advertising budgets. Might be wrong on this though! :confused:

Gizmotoy
Jan 18, 2005, 03:17 PM
I guess I just don't understand what all the fuss is about. The prices at our Apple Store don't include tax. By law, their prices include their huge VAT tax. I read earlier (don't forget where, sorry) that if you remove the VAT from the price of the Mac mini in Europe, it costs $15 US more than it does here in the US. To me, that sounds reasonable if they're claiming it costs more to ship it there.

dloomer
Jan 18, 2005, 03:22 PM
Seems like a silly thing to protest. If the prices are too high, Apple will notice when people don't buy any. Otherwise, a verbal protest is moot.

SuperChuck
Jan 18, 2005, 03:28 PM
I pay a lot more for French wine than I would if I lived in France.

I love a good English stilton, and the price I pay for it here is highway robbery.

You think a Samsung TV is as cheap in the U.S. as it is in South Korea?

It's called importation. It costs money. :rolleyes:

mpw
Jan 18, 2005, 03:32 PM
I get kinda mad when people complain how much Apple charge for their products in the UK. OK there is a difference but then there is a completely different market so why should Apple have a global price? On this occasion I've actually gone out of my way to find out how much we're being screwed by.

Apple Mac mini in the US $499 which converts to 267. Apple UK charge 289 so there's an 'overcharge' of about 8%. Now take into account the different wages operating cost etc. that, to me doesn't seem so bad.

Dell 2400 in the US $459 which converts to 245. Dell UK charge 380 so there's an 'overcharge' of 55%. Err where's the complaint about Dells pricing?

Now I know there's a slight difference in the spec. of the the two Dells but that's little more than bundled software and warranties.

Also I think you'll find that Apples 20" Cinema Display comes out about 6 or $11 cheaper in the UK than the US.

24C
Jan 18, 2005, 03:41 PM
I guess I just don't understand what all the fuss is about. The prices at our Apple Store don't include tax. By law, their prices include their huge VAT tax. I read earlier (don't forget where, sorry) that if you remove the VAT from the price of the Mac mini in Europe, it costs $15 US more than it does here in the US. To me, that sounds reasonable if they're claiming it costs more to ship it there.

Actually excluding VAT the Brits pay $40 dollars more for the base Mac mini , that's 8% more, and the other Europeans get stung even more so, but AFAIK the Kiwis get stung the most.

The shipping cost scenario is a red herring, there is something else that's going on here and after years of this price hiking people are getting cheesed. It doesn't help when the $499 price is converted to 267 in a journalistic piece, and it's advertised at 339 on the UK store...nobody bothered to factor the taxes into the equation.

mpw
Jan 18, 2005, 03:42 PM
I pay a lot more for French wine than I would if I lived in France.

I love a good English stilton, and the price I pay for it here is highway robbery.

You think a Samsung TV is as cheap in the U.S. as it is in South Korea?

It's called importation. It costs money. :rolleyes:

Not strictly true some things are cheaper in the US than they are in the UK even though they're made in the UK. The difference is down to how much the consumer is willing to pay and how much the manufacturer wants to make. Doesn't seem fair sometimes but that's just business. Apple (and others) would charge 10x what they charge in the UK in the US if they thought they'd get away with it, but they won't so they don't.

A couple of examples of how the market dictates the price of goods and not the cost of manufacture.
1) Peugeot 106 (euro hatchback) costs more to make than the newer 206 but the 206 is the next rung up the brand model range so is sold for more because they can and just make more money.
2) The ailing watch maker Sekonda took on a new CEO who turned the company round by doubling the price of the watches. Not only did they make more per watch but people thought they were better watches so they sold more in markets where the image mattered more than the product.

The same could be said for iPods do they cost more than other mp3 players to build? I doubt it. Do they sell for more just because we will buy them? You bet they do. Could we choose to buy the lesser brand? Yes, so you can't say it's not fair.

wrldwzrd89
Jan 18, 2005, 03:47 PM
Clearly the tax situation in the US is messed up if retailers almost have to quote the price without tax (because they're allowed to) due to the different sales tax rates in different states. In the UK it makes sense to include the tax in the quoted price because it's the same everywhere in the UK. Does the European Union have the same sales tax rate everywhere like the UK does?

24C
Jan 18, 2005, 03:50 PM
...snip...Also I think you'll find that Apples 20" Cinema Display comes out about 6 or $11 cheaper in the UK than the US.

I would do your sums on this again, well :confused: , 'cos it doesn't happen :)

24C
Jan 18, 2005, 03:54 PM
...snip...Does the European Union have the same sales tax rate everywhere like the UK does?

In some member states it is at least 20%, not 17.5% as in the UK. AFAIK Luxembourg is the lowest, which is why Apples' iTunes operation is there.

raeble
Jan 18, 2005, 04:00 PM
Dell 2400 in the US $459 which converts to 245. Dell UK charge 380 so there's an 'overcharge' of 55%. Err where's the complaint about Dells pricing?
Well the article is about people complaining about mac's isn't it? I'm sure people do complain about Dell's being over priced along with all the other imports.

There have been numerous tv programs and articles of late in the uk about how much more overpriced the uk is in comparison to the us and canada even with taxes included in the price, this could be what is starting to get on people's nerves, before there was never this information so people didn't know to complain.

When people see that you can buy a flight to the states, do a bit of shopping paying all local customs, come back declare all of it to customs and still have change from what you what have paid in the uk? I'm not surprised that people are complaining. However not everyone can afford to fly off abroad at the drop of a hat, so most people have to lump it.

This shipping issue that everyone keeps going on about - Why on earth would it cost more to ship to Europe which is on the same land mass as China than the US? Or Australia and New Zealand for that matter? Aren't all these countries a darn sight closer than the US? :confused:

takao
Jan 18, 2005, 04:01 PM
well i haven't read about much complaing for EU prices with the new imac mini... it was worse before the new price drops

8% is acceptable to me ... 25-30% like not so long ago, not

after all the mac minis are imported into the US as well ;)


apple still has some work ahead them if they want to get more attention... the apple market here hasn't regained the power of the past yet...heck lot of software for the mac isn't even available in german (if i check the apple-store)

i still wonder why apple is doing _less_ promotions over here ...

example iTunes nor pepsi/whatever promo, no free songs, payment only via credit card (i heard you have prepaid in the US is that true ? )

and even the edu-prices are better in the US ...

it's kinda frustrating to see apple germany/austria managment leaning back and doing nothing.. (last year the director of apple austria switched to microsoft austria... so much for irony)

edit:for VAT here in austria it's 20%
for Dell: they have a much smaller marketshare here than in the US (i've heard US 30+% , here <15%) ..the "playing field" here isn't domianted by one big player..personally i hardly see dells outside of businesses or schools

mpw
Jan 18, 2005, 04:06 PM
I would do your sums on this again, well :confused: , 'cos it doesn't happen :)

20" ACD $999 converts to 534. Apple UK price 699 take off 17.5% VAT and you get 595......BUT there is an import tax into the EU of 14% on any display with a DVI input because these are now classed under the TV display tariff (since about 8weeks ago) so the actual price before all taxes etc. is 522 or $977 a saving of $22.

While I think this customs import tariff is being ignored by many at some point HM Customs could turn round and take that 14% off Apple for every DVI display imported since the change in tariff and they can back date that 3years if they want. I know from bitter experience that they can do this even if you declare what you're bringing in and it's their oversight at the time. This is the reason Samsung just spent millions on a LCD fabrication plant in eastern Europe to avoid the import duty so you can bet they'll not sit back and watch their competitors avoid the duty, they may wait a while before raising a stink so Apple(and others) get hit with the back-dated charge they can't go back to past customers for.

24C
Jan 18, 2005, 04:19 PM
20" ACD $999 converts to 534. Apple UK price 699 take off 17.5% VAT and you get 595......BUT there is an import tax into the EU of 14% on any display with a DVI input because these are now classed under the TV display tariff (since about 8weeks ago) so the actual price before all taxes etc. is 522 or $977 a saving of $22...snip...

Thanks for that, didn't know about the DVI tax, but you can only buy it for $999 online, if you walked into an Apple Store in the US, you'd have to pay the local sales tax...don't know who'd win then :D

Seriously, that DVI tax really pisses me off, the French pushed a similar tax onto imported DVin/out camcorders through the EU, AFAIK, to protect their fledging video recorder factories. :(

mpw
Jan 18, 2005, 04:44 PM
Thanks for that, didn't know about the DVI tax, but you can only buy it for $999 online, if you walked into an Apple Store in the US, you'd have to pay the local sales tax...don't know who'd win then :D

Seriously, that DVI tax really pisses me off, the French pushed a similar tax onto imported DVin/out camcorders through the EU, AFAIK, to protect their fledging video recorder factories. :(

That's the French for you. It's the same 14% tariff that hits the DV camcorder imports because they have a screen and DV-in they can be used to view recorded broadcasts. Of course most, if not all, camcorders that are sold with DV-out only can be easily converted through software. My Canon MV30 became the 150 more expensive MV30i by taking off the remote control front cover to expose the engineers hidden keys and then changing a sigle setting.

24C
Jan 18, 2005, 05:32 PM
..snip... It's the same 14% tariff that hits the DV camcorder imports because they have a screen and DV-in they can be used to view recorded broadcasts...snip...

It is the same non European consumer video tax, and the application of it to computer monitors was started by an over zealous Dutch Custom's official, who reasoned that computer screen monitors could be used as video/TV screens. So the Dutch,UK & German's asked the EU for clarification, and lo it was implemented across the EU. :(

Explains why you don't get DVI ports on cheaper televisions/computer monitors anymore.

Bakey
Jan 18, 2005, 05:53 PM
Not strictly true some things are cheaper in the US than they are in the UK even though they're made in the UK.

To take this further [and to go a little off-topic granted!] but as you've rightly highlighted a product purchased in its country of origin doesn't necessarily correlate to cheaper prices.

A number of years ago an investigation took place into the cost of cars in the UK. To cut a long story short it was found to be cheaper to purchase an MG F [built in the Midlands by Rover] in Japan and have it shipped back across to the UK... this example alone, after shipping, etc. saved the purchaser a ridiculous 7000.00 [if it wasn't 7 it was several 000's!!] off the asking price of UK dealers!

Anyway, too be fair the price of the Mac mini is "acceptable" from my view point; the sooner I'm able to replace this Shuttle with a desktop Mac the better!!!!

Chip NoVaMac
Jan 18, 2005, 09:54 PM
In some member states it is at least 20%, not 17.5% as in the UK. AFAIK Luxembourg is the lowest, which is why Apples' iTunes operation is there.

You raise another issue that I think some choose to ignore. And that is that there are costs of doing business in other countries. What sort of taxes does Apple have to pay to each country that it has operations? Could they be higher than here in the US?

Some companies may choose to "equalize" their costs across multiple nations in order to have more "even" pricing. Others may choose to have those costs passed on to the consumers that live in those countries.

Victoriatus
Jan 19, 2005, 03:59 AM
I saw this on the macworld uk website first, the Europeans have a point when the best an Apple representative can say "we have to allow for extra shipping costs and currency fluctuations"

OK on the first point, but come on when the US$ has been weak for so long and we don't see much change here.

I don't understand the shipping costs point. Apple computers and other products ship from Far East to both Europe and USA. It's not like they would ship to Europe through USA - "Designed in California" makes no difference here. Also, packaging and software etc is assembled in Ireland. Currently the base model of Mac mini is selling for 519 euros in Apple Store Finland. That's 425,41 euros excluding VAT - and that's 555 US dollars! Doesn't make sense. It's still better than before Apple dropper their prices a couple of weeks ago. Mac mini would probably be selling for a whopping 599 euros if they still had their old prices.

The sad thing is that if Apple really adds all additional costs (shipping, if really any, localisation and marketing) to prices of products sold in Europe, they can't compete well with other computer manufacturers. Many if not most competing products have prices that are comparable to US prices excluding taxes, and some manufacturers even sell products for less to importers to make tax inflated prices still attractive. This happens with computer products too, but it's a rule in car sales - Finland has almost the cheapest port prices for cars in Europe, because without a reduction from manufacturer's price cars wouldn't sell in Finland. So, in this equation it's really sad that Apple chooses to raise the prices of its products, and then doesn't even advertise them here.

mpw
Jan 19, 2005, 04:45 AM
...A number of years ago an investigation took place into the cost of cars in the UK. To cut a long story short it was found to be cheaper to purchase an MG F [built in the Midlands by Rover] in Japan and have it shipped back across to the UK... this example alone, after shipping, etc. saved the purchaser a ridiculous 7000.00 [if it wasn't 7 it was several 000's!!] off the asking price of UK dealers!...

You could save 7,500 on a mid-90's Ford Focus that was listed at 15,000 in the UK and simply drive it home from mainland Europe!

This realisation came about because the EU made it illegal for car manufacturers not to supply cars across borders which meant that I could go to another EU car and order a right hand drive car at the local list price. Previously I could only get left hand drive and that hid the price differencial for most people. Plus the Euro made price comparisons easier because there was no exchange rate to hide behind.

24C
Jan 19, 2005, 05:36 AM
I don't understand the shipping costs point. Apple computers and other products ship from Far East to both Europe and USA. It's not like they would ship to Europe through USA - "Designed in California" makes no difference here....snip... The sad thing is that if Apple really adds all additional costs (shipping, if really any, localisation and marketing) to prices of products sold in Europe, they can't compete well with other computer manufacturers. ...snip...

Neither did I agree with the shipping point, it was just "currency fluctuations" was a huge red flag, gimme a break Apple, doh.

AFAIK, the cost is hiked by localised operating costs, so that the UK HQ's operating funds come from this...could be wrong here ;)

PS Maybe it cost more to land items in the UK?

macnulty
Jan 19, 2005, 06:58 AM
This shipping issue that everyone keeps going on about - Why on earth would it cost more to ship to Europe which is on the same land mass as China than the US? Or Australia and New Zealand for that matter? Aren't all these countries a darn sight closer than the US? :confused:

Shipping cost is more then just nearness. It is a matter of volume generated by demand. Shipping to the US is relatively inexpensive because of the shear volume to supply the market.

combatcolin
Jan 19, 2005, 07:10 AM
Oh well, give it a few weeks and we can get UK refurb Minis at the price of pristine US Minis.

vollspacken
Jan 20, 2005, 08:03 AM
yeah, prices are much higher here in Germany than in the U.S.

but, after I graduated from College in the U.S. and came back to Germany for grad school, I just do the following:

- I buy most of the lighter stuff on eBay USA, heavier stuff on eBay Germany (patience pays off...)
- I buy almost everything else from U.S. webstores
- I buy my groceries here... ;)

almost everything except groceries is cheaper in the US, this INCLUDES shipping!!! believe it or not, airmail shipping of smaller items is sometimes cheaper than shipping stuff inside of Germany.

some examples:

Carhartt Midweight Crewneck Sweatshirt:
- U.S. $26,-
- Germany 79,- EUR

Carhartt Car-Lux Thermo Hoodie
- U.S. $29,-
- Germany 99,- EUR

this is no joke, Carhartt Europe is marketed as a high-end urban fashion brand over here. they have a different portfolio, but they also sell some U.S. items link to Carhartt Europe (http://www.carhartt.de)

I ordered 3 sweats, 1 Car-Lux hoodie and paid $20,- for s&h... the package arrived four days later!!!


Adidas Superstar II shoes:
- U.S. $55,-
- Germany 85,- EUR

128MB (8x16MB) ram for my SE/30:
- eBay U.S. $20,- (plus $4,- for s&h)

Thinkpad 240x w/ matching external IBM CD-rom:
- eBay U.S. $299,- (plus $25,- for s&h)
my roomate dropped it on the floor, the screen broke and I got 500,- EUR from his insurance company... :)

now include the currency conversation rate, too... :eek:

o.k., prices in Germany include customs and VAT... but I only had to pay customs ONCE in two years (on an oldskool N3-B snorkel parka), and sometimes the price difference is just ridiculous... and for the companies that won't ship outside of the U.S., I got my ex-roomate from college... iPod Shuffle for $94,- from Clubmac.com, here I come ;)

vSpacken

Santaduck
Jan 20, 2005, 04:52 PM
Echoing Vollspaken,
the exchange rate isn't what matters. For example look at plane tickets for yen/dollar japan/usa depending on which country is the origin.

What matters is the rest of the market:
1) The % price discount of an Apple MM vs. the typical european price for an Apple iMac
2) The european price of a bargain Windows PC.

I suspect the cost of nonApple PCs are significantly higher in Europe than the US if you take the same PC and compare it with exchange rate conversions. If this is the case, then the MM pricing makes (at least some) sense.

asif786
Jan 20, 2005, 05:50 PM
<rant>

I really dont understand what the fuss is about..

Living in the UK, I'm used to having high prices, and I actually dont care. It's a fact of life. Deal with it, or move ( :) )

Sometimes I'm really amazed at ho much some people moan so save 10/20.

</end rant>