Are Americans becoming second-class consumers?

“I keep noticing with dismay that many of the gadgets I consider for purchase are deliberately crippled in their US versions. It used to be only European consumers had to suffer from inflated prices and reduced functionality, usually self-inflicted due to bureaucratic EU mandates like the DV-In fiasco (most DV camcorders in Europe have digital IEEE1394/Firewire/iLink video out but not digital video in, as otherwise they would be classified as VCRs and be subject to various protectionist customs duties).


Sony’s PEG-TH55 PDA has integrated WiFi and Bluetooth worldwide, except in the US where Bluetooth is omitted. This is incredibly annoying and rules the device out for me (unless I import one from the UK or Germany), as I have discovered from practical experience with my PEG-UX50 that WiFi access points are seldom available when you need them, and I often have to fall back to GPRS via Bluetooth. We are already saddled with the industrialized world’s worst mobile telephone operators and clunkiest phones, why add injury to insult?…


Epson’s Stylus Photo 2200, probably the favorite printer of professional photographers, does not include in the US the gray balancer, special software and calibration sheets used to improve the neutrality of black and white prints. Michael Reichmann puts it best when he calls this “The software that Epson North America thinks its customers are too dumb to use”.

The US is the world’s single largest market for consumer goods. Why is it treated with such disrespect?”

Fazal Majid’s Low Intensity Blog

[Update:4/20/2004 12:12:48 PM Central Daylight Time]

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