Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What's wrong with Apple Sales and Marketing?

Front page news this morning on the 'Morgen' newspaper, in Belgium: European Tourists buy all the iPhones in the US.

It's a blast, innit? Apparently the Apple Stores can't keep up with the demand. Numerous reports on the Internet are discussing the 'shortage' for a couple of weeks now.

Here's the thing. With the current dollar exchange rate to the Euro (1.57 USD for one Euro) it's a give-away to buy a 8 GByte iPhone. For the 8 GByte Nokia N95 (the sob I own) they ask 670 euros in this country (Belgium). You can buy two iPhones with this kind of money. European tech geeks and non-geeks are starving for an iPhone. In the large three countries where it's been launched since late last year it is both expensive and linked to even more expensive operator subscriptions. It's also impossible to buy one in a box and avoid signing a subscription. They won't sell it to you...

In the US, where logic and reason and a Free Market are the rule, even ATT shops will sell you an iPhone, and even more than one if you choose so. I heard a story just yesterday from a friend of a friend whose pal has been traveling in NY the other day. As he found no iPhones stock available in any of the big Apple Stores, in Soho and 5th Avn, he came across a tiny little ATT shop in an obscure place where normally no tourists appear. To his surprise, he found a stock of three iPhones; the ATT shop-owner was more than happy to accommodate his demand by selling him all three. Who cares for ATT's lost subscription revenues by selling to an alien tourist. WTF! He's got himself a deal of twelve hundred bucks plus sales tax from one single customer,  money on the table; he wish he had more boxes to sell like this; innit sweet? Long live Capitalism! Say that again!

I mean, why does Apple bullshit like this on the iPhone is a huge mystery. Do they just want to prove incompetent in terms of sales and marketing, I don't know. Both Europe and the Far East are dead serious about the iPhone, the best device invented in mobile telephony, ever. What's the point of making something and not selling it? Or, are they in the business of creating collector's items?

There is a potential of selling hundreds of millions of iPhones in the next few years if they only unlocked them and sold them at reasonable prices everywhere. What is this bullshit of linking them to rigid and dinosauric operators like the ATT, T-Mobile, Orange and the like! Make a few hundred bucks per phone more? Let me laugh! They can do a lot more if they sell multiples of what they sold todate. It would also be much better to those owning one and operate it with some other than the legitimate operators. Because people who bought the iPhone and had it hacked won't feel like criminals, having done something "illegal". By the way, nobody can convince me that Apple Inc doesn't want its phones to be hacked. Otherwise, they would make it virtually impossible to do it that easy!

Easy, you said? Yes sir! Even a blind man can do it! Thanks to ZiPhone! Available in 27 languages! Again, the friend of a friend says to me the other day: All you got to do is change ATT's SIM to your operator's, connect the darn thing to a PC or Mac, make sure iTunes is not running, launch Ziphone that you download first (obviously), and then press the button unlock, activate, jailbreak (sic)... In 4 min 55 secs (they say) you are ready to go! You just reached Nirvana.

Go do it folks... I need you to... cos, I got some Apple shares sitting there and if you've seen the beating they took since last January you can feel my pain!

PS. Hey, Steve (Jobs), how's this for an idea? Give the entire project to Nokia for a license fee! Those dudes are in the business of selling half a billion units a year; they'd be more than happy to sell another hundred million for you and they sure got the capacity and distribution to do it. If you made, say 50 bucks a unit as a license fee, then you'd add another 5 billion to your bottomline (give and take) hands down. And growing...And you would make us all real happy. Problem is, you always wanna do things on your own... what a shame!

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