I wanted to add a bit to the letter you had from Carlos in Japan. I have been living in Japan for about 3 years, the first two in Osaka and now in a more rural area outside Osaka. Carlos talks about stores with only 1 or 2 Macs and only the top ten software. Yes I have seen this too, but I have also seen the opposite. "Den den" town is Osaka's version of Tokyo's (infamous) Akihabara electronics district - a few streets jam packed with electronics and computer stores and huge crowds. And there is a very strong Apple presence in this area. The company has seen a decline in its customer base in Japan but the major electronics districts still seem to be doing great business. I think that I could buy pretty much anything Mac related here - provided it was in Japanese that is. There is an unbelievable selection of software, hardware, peripherals and gadgets. Unbelievable for me because I come from Canada. I have never seen any single store in Canada that comes close to any given one in Osaka's "den den town". I find it more like Carlos's lamentable state of Macs as he sees it in Japan - stores with only a couple computers, (computer) staff who don't know much about Mac and don't really try to sell it, and a seriously limited selection of hardware and software. Maybe I have just been unlucky in the stores I have visited. I do have to agree about the expensive pricing here. I am not sure why that is. I was looking at a new (blue and white) G3 last week - the price was close to $4000 US. (¥440,000). Think I will wait for my next trip overseas for that purchase. The iMac is a lot more reasonable and seems to be stirring up quite a bit of interest. Last weekend I watched a delivery truck stop in front of "MacSoft" (Mac dealer) and begin to unload - an entire truck load of iMac computers. All of the Mac dealers have them on prominent display and there seems to always be a few customers playing with them. My (Japanese) fiance recently told me that she wants to sell her Windoze computer and buy and iMac (that's why I love her!). At the junior high school where I work one teacher is still labouring on an old Mac Classic but wants to get a new computer. He loves Mac but has been leaning towards getting a Windows machine... until the iMac came out. he is now smitten and rethinking his defection. I think that these kind of stories suggest an extremely positive future for Macs (provided they can keep up the momentum).
I didn't know all of that stuff about the Apple retailers and dealers here in Japan so I want to that you and Carlos for enlightening me.
One final thing. You say:"Please keep in mind that English is a second language to this person and we included his letter verbatim." As a Junior high school English teacher I have to question your use of "to". I think that "for" is more appropriate and I would assume that you are all native English speakers right:-) Also "Carlos" isn't a Japanese name so how do you know that English is his second language?