Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone had a good winter: The company sold 1.7 million iPhones last quarter — more than it anticipated. How do we know? Because Apple had a hard time keeping its phones in stock at its U.S. retail stores, and they’re still in short supply.
Meanwhile, there seems to be a glut in Europe. U.K. carrier partner O2 and German carrier partner T-Mobile have both slashed prices on 8-gig iPhones. Orange, Apple’s carrier partner in France, is reportedly going to cut iPhone prices too.
Why isn’t the iPhone taking off in European stores?
It’s possible that European buyers just aren’t that impressed with the iPhone. It’s not (yet) 3G, and they have a big line of high-end, 3G Nokia (NOK) and Sony Ericsson phones to compare it to.
It’s possible their buying habits are different. The iPhone is locked to one carrier, and while Americans are used to buying our phones directly from the carrier — and sticking to that carrier — unlocked phones and prepaid service are more common in Europe.
And it’s also possible the iPhone is just too expensive in Europe. In France, for example, it costs 399 Euros to buy an 8 gig iPhone from Orange — $626! Europeans who want iPhones are probably better off buying a $399 phone in the States — or sending some cash along with friends who are visiting the U.S. — and unlocking it.
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