Russia has been in the headlines recently, more specifically their carriers dropping the iPhone. On today's Q3 2013 earnings conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a little to say about the story, with a little less of a doom and gloom angle on things. In short, Apple is doing just fine with iPhone sales there, reporting record figures for the quarter just gone.
80% of the iPhones that Apple has sold in Russia were sold outside of the carriers own stores, in general retail. He stressed that the Russian carriers had made sales of iPhone, but that their sales contribution is so much less than that of retail. Despite the lack of carrier support, the numbers reported record iPhone sales for Russia for Q3 2013.
Not bad at all when you consider that every one of that 80% was sold at full, unsubsidized retail price. It also goes to highlight the vast differences between their market, and one more familiar such as the U.S. Sometimes it stands to pass that media outlets see a story and sensationalise it almost immediately without necessarily understanding these differences. It's easy to forget that there's a lot of countries out there with higher import costs, and no carrier subsidies, but that doesn't mean doom and gloom. The iPhone is a premium product with a prestige appeal to it. People want it, even if it costs a lot to get it. Russia is a fine example of that.