Originally Posted by Winni
And your point is?
Google and Amazon sell their tablets at these prices and probably with a loss because they expect to generate revenue through their content supply chain. That's a business model that is not alien to Apple; after all, they've also sold subsidized products in the past (like the original iPhone) and many of those billions that they have in the bank were made through the iTunes store and Apple's 30% tax on everything that's being sold in it.
Selling a carrier-subsidized product is a different thing entirely - it simply moves the cost paid to the carrier who then (more than) recovers it through service plans. So Apple still ends up with the same profit, it's just paid out differently.
Apple's "30% tax" goes to maintaining and serving electronic content. You cannot truly believe that it costs nothing to support the iTunes store? In 2011 Apple generated about $6 billion in revenue from content. It retained 30% or $1.8 billion and had at least $1.3 billion in expenses (it costs as much to market and serve free downloads as it does paid ones). So Apple generated at most $500 million in profit from the iTunes Store for the entire year of 2011. That's hardly an argument for selling iPads at cost.