Too many discounts: Apple Japan bullies online retailers

Japan loves Apple, there’s no doubt about it. The brand is one of the most popular tech brands in the country. iPods, Macs and even the iPhone are selling like hot cakes. But apparently, big A, or at least its Japanese subsidiary, is getting a bit arrogant in the process. According to The Nikkei (“Japan’s Wall Street Journal”), Apple Japan today ordered a number of major online retailers to stop offering all of their products online.

And Apple seems to have so much clout in Japan that their products vanished from almost every retailer’s website in the last few hours (reportedly, Apple told them to take down its products without delay). The resellers in question include the “Best Buys of Japan”, for example Yodobashi Camera, Joshin Denki, BicCamera, or Kojima.

What reportedly bothered Apple were the discounts these retailers gave to their customers. The background is that Japanese buyers usually expect discounts of at least 5% whenever they buy consumer electronics or computers – online or offline (some devices can even drop up to 20% and more in price). In most cases, the discounts are being granted in the form of “points” that can be redeemed when it’s time for the next purchase.

I just tried and could still put the iPod touch 32GB into my shopping cart on the Yodobashi site, for example. But as you can see on the screengrab on top of this post, Yodobashi says I have to go pick up the device [JP] in one of their brick and mortar shops and call a number for more information. The 5% discount (as bonus points) is still being displayed.

The only online store I could find that seemed to have received special treatment was Amazon (see screengrab of my shopping cart above).