Reports continue to flood in responding to Macworld’s and Macweek’s special report into Mac availability worldwide (see "Where in the world are Macs?"). The following includes readers' comment spanning from from the Far East to South America. Many responses are from resellers who wish to remain anonymous.
Austria One correspondent complains: "Apple is not fulfilling orders in the order it receives them, but prefers instead to ship the most expensive models first."
Belgium Belgium seems well-stocked. A reseller said: "We currently have all the iMacs in stock, and plenty of iBooks, PowerBooks are available. G4s are scarce, but we should receive them quickly. Sales are good – we sold 50 CPUs last Saturday."
Ecuador An outraged Macintosh user said: "Here, outdated 603 processor models are still for sale at outrageous prices, and an iMac DV will set you back $1900 or more.
Israel Ilan Graicer said of Yeda Computers - which represents Apple in Israel: "There is no way you can receive a G4 quickly after ordering. US government restrictions mean at least 40 days delivery time after filling forms and giving passport numbers and such. There are no Cinema displays at all, and won’t be until March 2000. Power Mac G3s are sold out." As for iMacs, there is limited availability of new models.
Another Israeli Macintosh user said: "Aside from graphic designers, nobody buys Macs. Israel is dominated by PCs. We have one of the highest rates of home PCs in the world. Some graphic design schools even teach on PCs, running a one-day tutorial on Macs as an alternative OS. Lack of advertizing or market support has damaged the company’s reputation, and Apple is seen as a high-priced graphic design computer. I blame Apple for never listening to the hundreds of complaints sent to it from Mac fans in Israel. Most of them complain about the total impotence of Yeda."
Zac Ireland observes: "Import taxes to Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and
Venezuela are much lower when goods come from Taiwan and Korea, with whom Latin America is on a friendlier trade basis, than if they come from the US. Ironically, outsourcing has hurt Latin American markets, as Apple does not ship directly from Asia to Latin America, but instead imports to the US (paying an import tax) and then re-exports to Latin American (paying yet a second import tax!). In effect, this puts Latin American prices at 150-200 per cent of US prices."
Malaysia The Asian-Pacific market has its own complexities. Malaysian reseller Wan Chun Hung says: "We have good supplies of 350MHz G4s, but the more popular 400MHz model is back-ordered. PowerBook and blueberry iBook supplies are good, but Tangerine iBooks are in short supply, as are iMacs
North America A Canadian reseller said: "Supply seems better than a month ago."
A US-based reseller said: "The main complaint in the United States is with shipping times. Customers who have bought Macintosh equipment have been promised a 14-day delivery schedule, then find it takes a month. Apple Store said the estimated ship time was 15 days. Now, when we look on the Internet site, the estimated ship-time says seven days. Isn't this deceptive advertising?"
An Apple retail rep wrote anonymously: "My four Sears stores are getting three- to six-day delivery from the warehouse on iMacs in the most popular colours. iBooks are still hard to come by."
But another anonymous US reseller disagrees: "I sell computers for CompUSA in the Midwest, and our supply situation has been absolutely horrendous. I am told that we are one of the top ten Mac stores in our company, so I would expect to get decent shipments. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Apple is just not keeping me stocked."
Peru A Macworld reader said: "You’re missing a big market, Apple. The only G4s we see in Peru are in the magazines. In Lima a Macintosh can cost twice or more as much as it does in the States."
Portugal A reseller said: "Apple is represented in Portugal by Interlog. They are quite awful. It takes two or three months to replace logic boards, they have little retail presence, and a non-existent advertising budget. I don’t believe there is a Mac person in Portugal that does not have a bad story to tell about Interlog."
South Africa South African reseller Roger Godwin said: "One thing is for sure: there are no Macs in South Africa to speak of if one stays on the straight and narrow path of an authorized reseller. For most of the year we have been unable to supply at all."
"South African Apple-heads got the short straw when Apple reconfigured its G4 line. We advised Apple, as we were requested to, about all the clients that had ordered their systems before the debacle, and the subsequent deadline, so that it could ensure that these folks would be supplied. What happened? Apple advised us one week later that it would not be able to supply the 400MHz orders received before the deadline, and that it could only offer the 350MHz model instead.
"As a sop to this pathetic alternative it offered each customer a $48 rebate. This seems to be the value that is placed on the difference between the machines."
Mr Godwin added: "South Africa is still awaiting the arrival of the 350MHz models. The local Mac market has been shot to hell and back, the prospect of recovery seems very distant, if at all. There have been no replies from the top management in Cupertino – they ignore faxes and emails."
Switzerland Apple Switzerland has an initiative through which consumers can buy their Macintosh’s from the post office. A Swiss Macworld reader writes: "The situation is good if you want to buy an iMac or iBook. It takes around a week to arrive. The Swiss post office seems well organized."
Taiwan A Macworld reader in Taiwan writes: "I have been living in Taiwan for several years. Last month I bought a new 400MHz PowerBook G3. I happened to be in the US and carried it discreetly back to Taiwan. Why? The Apple vendors here are ridiculously greedy, often charging $1,000 more than Stateside for the same unit. Apple machines are so rarely used in Taiwan that Apple doesn’t seem to care."
For more letters and analysis go to MacWeek: (see "World Mac retail feedback")