Back when Russian President Dimitry Medvedev went on a tour of Silicon Valley and met Steve Jobs at Apple, he gave him an iPhone — which is locked on AT&T. So it doesn’t work in Russia. (From iguides.ru via 9-to-5 Mac)
This is pretty silly and unfortunate. Gift-giving between diplomats and head of state is a very complicated game and dance — you have to find stuff that is original and yet not offensive, and be aware of any negative potential connotations. And yet you do have to give gifts. A classic example is Richard Nixon who, according to your writer’s college history professor, gifted his Chinese counterpart rare cowboy boots, not realising that in Chinese culture things related to feet are considered dirty and not appropriate as gifts.
Foreign ministries have entire departments dedicated to these things, and they still get it wrong once in a while. So it’s not surprising that Apple, whose strong suit isn’t exactly international diplomacy (or diplomacy at all, some would argue) would get it wrong. Still, this seems like an obvious mistake in hindsight.
Here’s a tweet from one of Dmitry Medvedev’s assistants:
Photo: 9to5 Mac
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