The Apple Company intends to expand its presence in Russia in the near future. CNews found out the online shop iTunes Store would be available to the Russian users April 21st, 2008. Evgeny Chichvarkin, Euroset’s owner, believes ‘the given step proves Apple’s interest in legal iPhone sales in Russia’.
The billboard puzzles made in the iPhone style appeared in Moscow on Friday, April 4th. The CNews’ correspondents saw such billboards in Arbat and Barklay st. According to sources, the teasers were noticed in at least three other places in Moscow.
There is an inscription ‘iSkoro 21.04.2008’ (iSoon 21.04.2008) similar to the one used on the iPhone package against the black background of the billboards.
Such billboards have aroused enthusiasm on the Russian resources about Apple and iPhone, in particular. The first and most desirable solution to the puzzle proposed by the mentioned resource readers is the official iPhone sales that might be launched in Russia in the near future.
But the actual solution has been found in the internet. Practically simultaneously with the black billboards in Moscow streets two sites have been launched in the Internet that destroy the hopes of iPhone fans for the device to appear in Russia by the end of April.
The home pages of imacintosh.ru and itunes-store.ru contain the inscription ‘iTnues Store Russia 21.04.2008’. (When the given article was prepared for publication itunes-store.ru was temporary switched off and instead of the banner ‘iTunes Store Russia 21.04.2008’ its home page contained the technical inscription ‘It works!’). The mentioned full-screen banners with inscriptions in the iPhone style are not clickable.
The whois service on the registrar site shows firstname.lastname@example.org is indicated as the contact e-mail for imacintosh.ru, whilst for the less popular itunes-store.ru email@example.com is indicated.
The apple.com domain belongs to the Apple Corporation unlike apple.ru, whose owner is Apple IMC (Independent Marketing Company), the leading (and for quite a long time only) distributor of Apple products in Russia. Regarding the websites registrants the banner ‘iTunes Store in Russia 21.04.2008’ on their home pages might be considered the official launch of iTunes Store operations in Russia. The Russian representation office of Apple was unavailable for comments this weekend.
Evgeny Chichvarkin, head of the Russian mobile retailer Euroset, agreed to comment on iTunes Store possible launch for Russian citizens: ‘It is great if that is true. Thus, Apple has made another step to iPhone legal sales in Russia and prices for Apple goods might go down to the US or European ones’.
So the launch of the online iTunes store in Russia might result in more active expansion of Apple into the domestic market. According to the NPD Group review, the iTunes Store is the first among the US musical resellers with 4 bn tracks sold in 2007.
In addition to the quite useless iPod and the Apple TV application, the Russian users will be able to buy licensed music tracks and video programs at prices proposed by Apple ($0.99 for the US citizens and ˆ0.99 for the EU citizens). The launch of the iTunes Store provides the Russian users with the official support of its products legally presented on the Russian market.
Not long ago the Russian owners asking how to upgrade their iPod Touch firmware provided the legal upgrade is carried out through iTunes Store not supported in Russia have been advised to buy a new iPod Touch. The given problem is likely to be resolved in two weeks.