Costco pulling iPod, iPhone, everything Apple from shelves

Well it looks like that tip we got last week about Costco pulling iPod and everything Apple from their US Stores, and iPhone as well from their Canadian stores is now getting confirmed around the web.

The story goes an emergency conference call was set up to inform staff in both the warehouse proper and the mobile sales kiosk that all Apple products, accessories, etc. were being pulled.

iLounge has added a potential reason -- Costco didn't get the iPad when Walmart, Target, Amazon, Verizon, AT&T, et. al did and this is payback. Or just a way to cut off their nose to spite Apple's face.

Given the money on the table, however, I wouldn't be surprised if they came to terms and iPads started flowing from C

Either way, anyone going to miss Costco as their source for some things Apple?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Costco pulling iPod, iPhone, everything Apple from shelves


People that enjoy their Executive Membership or those who use Amex and get $$$cashback annually! Most Costco shoppers are educated and business oriented. Plus Costco has hassle-free returns and a generous electronics policy. Best Buy cannot touch that.

Oh no! That only leaves me with Walmart, Target, Amazon, Verizon, AT&T, or Apple Stores to buy one from! What a hassle!

I think they were really upset when Sam's Club, a direct competitor, got the iPad before they did. They will come crawling back. Just watch and see.

Costco does give a little discount on iTunes multipack giftcards. Other than that the only reason to buy there is there are pretty flexible with returns and exchanges

After dealing with Costco for many years in the CE space I can tell you that they are the biggest MFers in the world to work with. Low margin, alternative packaging, etc. Sure they move product well, but the margin is usually so low for the manufacturer its north worth the headache. Good riddance...

Costco has great produce. That's about it. Sams club is better in meats and other things. Why pay for both memberships. Just pick one. I agree for electronics, buy from best buy.

Just called a friend shopping at Costco. Inventory is still intact and for sale.Friday 10/15 3:45pm

Let's not forgot Costco's generous return policy on electronics: 90 day unconditional return policy, and doubling of the manufacturer's warranty - including sending it out for you if it needs repairs.
I buy all of my electronics from Costco.
People that buy anything from Best Buy are throwing money away. That store is a joke.

I will actually miss this if for nothing else, just for the fact that Costco was where I bought my first iPod (touch), and it was about $40 cheaper than everywhere else... I do, however, just buy everything from the apple store now so there's no need for me to have Costco except for the distance. It was nice to have the option, though.

Why would you buy Apple products at Costco when you can buy them at Fry's or Best Buy. The prices aren't that different between Costco and other retailer. Walmart and Target don't ask for Membership Fee.
I go to Costco for groceries and just walk past the laptops and cameras thinking who the heck will buy those units when they can buy them at Fry's or online at substantially lower price.

Seriously, just go to Fry's if you have one at your neighborhood. It's the Costco of electronics.

Costco couldn't care less, probably. I'm guessing they make next to nothing marginally on them, and they're extended electronics return policy doesn't help either.

I didn't even know Costco had been selling any Apple products. Oh well, Costco will get over it. I can still go to a lot of other places nearby me that carry Apple stuff if I need it (got my iPhone 4 from Radio Shack).

No. i won't miss it and i wasn't gonna go to costco for them anyways.
Costco doesn't need apple stuff and apple stuff don't need costco. It's a wash. It's not remotely Costco is hurting for profits or relying on apple as a major contributor to their profits. Now if Costco was pull Flatscreen TVs, all it's prepared food or liquor then we'd have a major problem.

I think people need to understand costco is extemly successful and not hardly due to apple products. like someone said they probably make next to nothing off them. Costco is big for food, tvs, wine and someother things and that's where it makes its profits. But the reality yes Costco does think highly of itself and rightfully so.

Lets not be snobs here. Costco is the best place to buy Apple products and Apple is actually the worst. I bought my Touch at Costco for $278 and it comes with a built in Costco 2yr warranty and 90day return policy.
Apple Store - 10day return / 10% restocking fee
Best Buy - 30 Day return / 10% Restocking
Amazon - Zero Sales Tax / 30day Return
Costco - Lower Price / 3mo Return Policy / 0 Restocking Fee / 2yr Warr

Id go to bestbuy, att,walmart ,etc but the house wife/ working wife/ mother is probably the major target for apple products for sale at costco.

I believe I got my clock w/h an iInterface for Christmas last year... but other than that I don't think Costco when I think Apple.

All you folks saying best buy, can you pick a place with more clueless salespeople? At least buy it from the Apple store where they have some knowledge of the products. And, no, Ive never bought Apple products at Costco. Maybe they just pulled them cause they were collecting dust there.

The lower competitive pricing is fine - after you've made back the membership fee from other purchases. So -assuming this is all true- a select few will miss out on a deal. How many, I wonder…?

Haven't you heard of Fry's? Their MacBook Pro 13" 2.4 GHz was selling at $1,099 two weeks ago. Well you pay hefty California sales tax, that is the downside.
I'd go to Fry's first, then Best Buy or Apple Store or Target.

As long as they keep the iHome's for sale, they sell em $20 cheaper then anywhere else. And yes I know they're not an apple product.

I never realized Costco even had Apple products. Seems kind of like oil and water really. iPods I guess I could see, but that's about it.

The Costco bashing on here is stupid. It make you sound like such blind Apple Fanboys that you appear like litle whinny kids that will take your ball home if you aren't picked for the team or in this case a retailer has a dispute with your beloved Apple. I like my iPod as much as the other guy but Apple is far from infallible. For that matter, Costco is far from infallible. The price, return policy, extended warranty and convenience for me make Costco the brain dead obvious choice for purchasing an Apple product if they happen to stock what I want. After all, I usually know more about the product I'm buying than any sales person, regardless of if they are in an Apple store or somewhere else.

The thing that always sucked about Costco is you cannot get Same As Cash terms on big ticket items. Getting 12 months to pay for a laptop with a tad highrt price tag at Best Buy is more appealing to me than saving $50 on a $1,000 item with no extended billing!
One Love!

Big Deal! Costco already charges you for a membership. Do you realize that their electronics is about the same price as anywhere else. Go to the Apple Store or other places to buy your iPad.

Is cosco just pulling everything off the shelves like right now or are they putting huge sale on everything to get rid of it all?

While I haven't bought any of my iDevices at costco, I do prefer buying electronics at costco when possible because of their unmatched return/warranty policies.

Yes, surely the 3rd largest U.S. retailer with 570+ locations, 140K employees, and $70 billion a year in sales sucks and is an unknown chain...
If they can get Coca-Cola to alter their wholesale pricing by pulling the product off the shelves, then it will probably work for Apple too.

Costco rocks, the only Retail Company that cares about their members/customers. If you've never heard of Costco you must be living in a hole. They are the best. The only place I buy electronics period.

Dataguy, Coca-Cola needs Costco in a slightly different way then Apple. When I'm in a Costco, or a regular Supermarket, I have a brand preference, for sure, but at the end of the day I'll often buy a deal. Given identical pricing, I'll buy Diet Coke over Diet Pepsi, but given a sales on Pepsi products, I'll get those instead.
Same thing in almost every food category. Ronzini, Muellers, store brand... I buy whatever box of pasta is cheapest, unless a slightly more expensive one is buy one get one.
This is even more prevalent in a warehouse club store. Your supermarket might carry dozens and dozens of cereals, your Costco might carry a few. People shopping there, absolutely want a good price on food.
I don't see this having any impact on someone wanting an iPod buying a Zune instead. iPods aren't that type of commodity. Your typical consumer may live with Pepsi, and may buy the cheaper of two name brand TVs (see the emergence of Vizio, for example), but someone wants an iPhone or an iPad. Not to save $10.

  1. Costco charges for membership to shop at their stores. (see Kens comment)
  2. Is the price of Apples products cheaper there then everywhere else? (I thought apple had set prices?)

That being said, a proud owner of an iPad, why would I ever go to Costco to but one!

Costco is awesome. No questions asked 90 day return policy. Extended warranty on tv to 2 years for free. And good prices. Plus the staff actually knows what they are talking about.
I just returned my 3rd gen touch for a 4th gen after a month and a half.
They said it was the last shipment.
Where else can you do this?
Plus I get a 2% rebate on all my purchases at the end of the year. Paid for $50 worth of my iPod.

Costco is the best! And yes Scott, iPods cost about $20 cheaper at Costco than purchasing from Apple.

I love Costco! Great prices on electronics, lots to choose from, awesome return policy...I shop there all the time. I don't understand why Apple would snub them on the iPad, but whatever, it won't hurt Costco....maybe they'll carry the Galaxy Tab when it comes out. :D

Costco generally is unmatched in customer service and although the discounts on Apple products are modest the instant complementary warranty extensions re great! they also offer an extended return period on electronics. They are also socially responsible, so far. I hope that they get this resolved quickly.

It's a shae that there won't be anymore apple products on Costco's shelves. Another reason for this could have been that because Costco was offering Apple products for a better price and with a better warrenty, people stopped buying from apple, which is what I did.

The real deal with the Costco, Apple fight is; Apple did not want Costco to sell the Ipad. The setting for the Ipad was not to Apple's liking. Apple wanted a special area for its products. The two companies could have over come this, but when the Apple executive insulted the CEO of Costco with him in the room.... well that was too much. Costco's CEO stormed out of the meeting and told his staff stop ordering Apple product
and any orders they had cancel immediately. I do not know what the Apple executive said only that it really upset the CEO of Costco and his staff.

Hi. I am a front end floor manager from the Costco in Winter Park, FL. The reason we have discontinued apple is because:

  1. They offered our competitor (sams club) a better price on apple products.
  2. They didn't want us to sell the Ipad at such a low price. We had planed to mark the price down 20 dollars from apples own website on all sizes of Ipads. Its almost corporates way of staying firm in offering rock bottom prices. We look to get the same reaction out of apple that we did in 07 with coke.

it was nothing having to do with Jim Sinegal (CEO) storming out of a meeting over hurt feelings. That story is 100% false. Believe it or not most fortune 500 companies actually run and behave like them; not like tabloid drama.

Costco is the best place to get iTunes gift cards (or almost any other gift card for that matter). $60 worth of cards for $50. I haven't seen that deal anywhere else.

There's no margin in selling Ipods Why should Costco do Apple's heavy lifting when they get treated like dirt..... screw Apple they are a monopoly anyway. You thought Microsoft was bad...

So that's why there's no Apple stuff at Costco now. Well, they were plenty busy in the electronics section over thanksgiving anyway without Apple. Costco customers are very loyal. Since Apple electronics were maybe 1/1000 of the products in their stores Costco will survive.

Mp3 players are cheaper and easier to use on anything by a mac. I don't understand the hipe over the Ipod. Costco had plenty of the Sansa Mp3 players which does basically the same thing which is what I prefer to use anyway.

No skin of my nose I've had it with Apple anyway. Looking forward to some of the new competitors in the pipeline though.

@Ted - Thank you for the background info! Guess that's what happens when big egoes collide, huh... but I'm glad that the Costco CEO held his ground, if it's true that he was insulted. That deserves respect.
But then again, I'm speaking as a Costco fan... they let me return a digital camera after 80 days (the zoom lens got stuck), no questions asked. They treat/pay their employees quite well too, from what I've heard, so I'm glad to support them as a member. :]

btw ... amazon just cut the ipod touch 32gb to $269.99 and include a $25 Amazon gift card ... so the $299 is not fixed by Apple evidently.

Costco is the only place I have purchased ipods and with 6 teens and young adults in my family, along with my own, that's a lot of ipods. They have the best deal and it there is an issue I could return it to the store instead of packaging it up and mailing it. I think it's a mistake on Apple's part.

Costco Rocks...I bought three Ipods from them and went to buy my wife a new one...I found out that they pulled Apple Products from the store because they didn't get the Ipad... I don't blame them...Apple is a little full of themselves. Shopping at Walmart is the worst shopping experience I ever have and they jack up prices all the time, if you don't watch you will over pay. Costco is consistent.

Well, I love Costco. Seems to me Steve Jobs has problems with just about everybody. Personally, I think it shows integrity on the part of Costco to stand up for what they believe. Just like Google when they were getting pushed around by China.

Wow. Apples peeps must be delusional crackheads. Since I bought the ONE ipod from Walmart and had the 3-ringed circus merry-go round customer service that I paid extra for experience when something went wrong. Both Apple and Walmart passing the responsibility to each other. Bought 2 Ipods from Costco which had regular prices that were less that the sale prices of bestbuy etc. Agree with others, prefer electronics from costco and refused to buy ipad because it was not sold at costco. Costco 4life.

Costco rocks and Apple sucks when it comes to caring about customers. Apple will be the only loser in this war. As far as I am concerned Costco is the best retailer in the nation by a mile.

I love Costco! I have the executive membership which pays me back 2% of my total purchases for the year. I love getting that big chec

I love Costco! I have an executive membership which pays me back 2% of my total purchases throughout the year. I love getting that big check in the mail. Aside from that, I like the constant coupons for electronics, furniture, and small things like diapers, toilet paper, dog food, ect. I hope they continue to sell Apple, I was looking for an ipod when I came across this article. As for Best Buy, they're ok, if I have no where else to shop... but like a few mentioned before me, Fry's is hands down the best electronincs store.

I don't know if I'd go for the paid Hulu, but I just cancelled my cable last week. Roku with Netflix and Slingbox FTW. Netflix minimum for streaming is only $10/mo and Roku and Slingbox are one-time costs.