Vice President Amado Boudou appears to be a big Apple fan.
In this photo you can see him meeting with Economy Minister Hernan Lorenzino.
But if you’re an Apple geek what you’ll notice about the picture is that Boudou’s desk is full of Apple products. He’s got 1) a big iMac 2) a wireless Apple keyboard 3) a wireless Apple touch mouse and 4) and iPhone 4 or 4S (bottom of the photo, implying it may belong to Lorenzino).
Boudou is also using a LaCie portable hard drive, which is made specifically for Apple computers.
These products are expensive and can be hard to find in Argentina. Indeed, the government banned iPhone imports a long time ago, forcing Argentines to get them from MercadoLibre or somewhere else.
The import restrictions have also made it hard for local Apple resellers to honor the company’s international AppleCare warranty. Dealers here can’t import the parts needed to fix Apple products. This has been very frustrating for some Apple owners, including many readers of this blog.
Another iPhone fan appears to be Industry Minister Débora Giorgi, who has advocated the import restrictions, saying they help create local jobs. In the photo below, she is seen with four phones, one of which is an iPhone.
Former cabinet chief Aníbal Fernández, now a member of Congress, is also a big fan. He proudly used to take his iPad with him to testify before Congress.
Like many of Argentina’s policies, the iPhone ban is informal. It was never announced publicly and exists solely in de facto terms.
Telecommunications companies would love to sell the iPhone here.
But they haven’t been able to bring it into the country. Industry officials say the government hopes that by banning products, manufacturers will eventually make them here.
That appears to have been the case with Research in Motion, which decided to assemble Blackberries locally after the government banned their entry.
The iPhone ban is part of a much broader government crack-down on imports.
You can read more about all of this in a piece I did for The Wall Street Journal here.