Apple blocks cheaper UK iPod sales
Grey skies loom over 'grey' iPods
Apple is threatening legal action against 11 UK e-tailers unless they stop selling iPods imported from outside the UK.
The computer giant has complained to a number of well-known online retailers which were buying iPods in the US – where they sell for £15 less than the UK– and then selling them at a knocked-down price to customers in Blighty.
The undertakings issued by London law firm Bird & Bird and seen by The Register, demand e-tailers stop selling what it described as “Grey iPods” anywhere in Europe.
The Cupertino-based firm also threatened to bring legal action against any e-tailer outfit that “infringes” Apple’s rights.
It told the 11 UK e-tailers that they shouldn't "in future import into the EEA [European Economic Area] offer, sell or otherwise put on the market in the EEA any products bearing the rights (save where such products have been first put on the market in the EEA by Apple itself or with Apple’s express consent) or assist any other to do so”.
Apple also requested that the details of suppliers who provided the “Grey iPods” be handed over to the firm. Companies which have settled are also expected to pay a contribution to Apple’s legal expenses and damages.
Grey markets exist where companies maintain different prices for different regions.
The company’s apparent clampdown was slammed by one e-tailer who asked to remain anonymous.
He told The Register that customers were benefiting from the cost-savings made by e-tailers bringing in iPods at a cheaper price. He also accused Apple of "price-fixing the market".
"It's all a bit of a farce really, but no one will take them [Apple] on in the real world. The company is just too big."
A Bird & Bird spokesman told us the firm was unable to comment on details of the undertakings issued because it was a sensitive ongoing legal matter.
We also asked Apple to provide comment on the letters, but it has yet to return our call. ®
problem is UK law not US
Look not to defend Apple or any other US company but they are just playing by the current laws in the UK. If you don't like the laws quit voting for Labour. Its not like in the US where you have a large geographical region (the southeastern) who keep putting the same "pious" corrupt morons in charge. We should have just let them form their own country and accepted bordering two third world countries.
@ Niall Campbell
'How long is a piece of string?'
invariablely 27 inches, but what has that got to do with iPoo's?
same ole same ole...
Yet again it seems the 'free trade' all these US companies are so big on is NOT for consumers.
A major reason for the increased price of electronics in the UK is because of your consumer protection laws. A longer than factory warranty and liability for the merchant has to cost someone because as a product grows older it becomes more expensive to repair or replace, and even though the merchant is responsible to you, the manufacturer is responsible to the merchant (at least reputable manufacturers).
You people want everything but think it's going to be free. Sorry chaps it doesn't work that way, every law you pass or take part in to "protect yourselves" against merchants only drives your costs up more.
So you think it is perfectly acceptable for an expensive item to only have an expected lifespan of 90 days? How does having a 12 month warranty cost the manufacturer any more. The warranty is only applicable to anything that fails due to crap manufacturing, not if you drop it etc. Nothing in the world should be manufactured with only a 3 month life expectancy. If you can't make a product that will last 12 months then you need to go back to the drawing board. No wonder American manufacturing has gone down the toilet.
Why not just buy a different mp3 player, you know the ones without hiss and lo-fi output, that you can copy any file to it without using itunes, and not designed to break in 1 year.