back to article Norway warns Amazon against Kindle launch

Norway's Consumer Council reckons the Kindle breaches Norwegian law, and will have to change radically before any local launch. It's not the first group to complain about Amazon's vice-like grip on the Kindle, not to mention its supporting services and customer information, but the Norwegian Consumer Council is able to impose …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds great

    I want to move to Norway

  2. Shane McCarrick


    Why is Norway worried about reader's history etc being warehoused in the US rather than the EU.....? Last time I checked Norways wasn't a member of the EU........?

  3. James 5


    Ah - but ! the cost of living - not to mention a beer!

  4. Rob


    Me too, I'll save you a seat on the 'get out of shiteville' bus

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    EU Law?

    "specifically as reading habits are warehoused in the US, outside the jurisdiction of EU privacy laws"

    ...and EU law would be relevant to Norway because?

  6. J 3


    An entity that says "screw you" to the mega-corps to protect mere consumers? What next, liberty and justice for all too? Shenanigans.

  7. Paul 25
    Thumb Up


    I'd love to move there anyway.

    Visited once, really lovely place, terrific people, gorgeous country (and people).

    I remember a guide book saying that Lillihammer was in the midst of a crime wave with up to two cars a week being stolen :)

    I'm sure it has its downsides, but i couldn't see any.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    A pint's about a fiver. You really don't...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    RE: Sounds great

    I was thinking that as well.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    mandated 5-year warranty

    Wow, does that mean every consumer device requires a minimum 5-year warranty in Norway...? All PCs, Macs, iPhones, etc...? Or is something particular to an e-reader like Kindle?

    @Voodoo: You can "move to Norway" and enjoy Scandanavian design by trying out the Opera browser and Opera Mini/Mobile on your phone...beautiful, free, simple advanced design with the user and easy-to-use, easy-to-code "One Web" in mind... ;)

  11. Mark Dowling

    amazon's likely response

    fine, we won't sell there, like Canada. Boo hoo.

  12. Mage Silver badge


    Is not in the EU. But maybe they like EU privacy law.

    Have you seen the price of beer there?

  13. Pablo


    "Norwegian law requires such contracts to be clearly written."

    Why can't we have something like that here?

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Why not a Sony PRS-505 e-Reader instead?

    With this, you just plug it in via USB to put your books on, then disconnect. It won't connect to the Internet for updates, it won't detail your habits and upload them, nor will it be able to remove books from your catalogue once you've bought them.

    It simply does what it is meant to do, and well - it lets you read books.

    (Say I, currently about half-way through the entire Sherlock Holmes collection.)

  15. John Whitehead

    When did Norway join the EU?

    News to me...

  16. Dan O'Donovan
    Thumb Up

    Good for them!

    Well done Norway, good to see someone taking a firm stance on shifty marketeering - just like our Office of Fair Trading a surely doing here in the UK. Uh, hang on..

  17. Alan Esworthy

    information as property

    I am perfectly willing to recognize a superior method of storing and accessing information, and will happily pay for for just that. However, the kindle (and many other "digital rights" encumbered systems) go much farther than that by trying to cripple my use of the information that I store and access. I won't have any part of it.

    Even though I have serious misgivings about the copyright system for printed materials, books are much superior to protected/restricted digital versions of the same information primarily because the book itself becomes my property and I can dispose of it as I choose. You cannot legally resell a kindle version of any publication.

  18. LINCARD1000

    Norway =/= Privacy

    Yeah, this is the country where everyone's tax records/earnings can be simply looked up without restriction on publicly available websites...

    And they're worried about privacy. What a freakin' joke. FAIL Norway, FAIL HARD.

  19. Charles 9 Silver badge


    I don't know. I hear the weather stinks especially in winter and the tax rates are killer.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    While in the UK ...

    If New Labour could have their way, we'd no doubt only be allowed to buy Kindle when suitably vetted, finger printed and DNA-tagged, and it's deemed safe that we aren't terrorists jihadists and won't be downloading any such nonsense as the Anarchist's Cookbook or a copy of Samina Malik's poetry.

    I wouldn't like to be in Amazon's shoes should a Kindle with a convenient map of the London Underground and an A-to-Z with London landmarks noted be found next to a pot of chutney labelled "ricin".

  21. Allan 1

    Sounds great

    I want to move to Norway too.

  22. Frumious Bandersnatch

    "outside the jursidiction of EU law?"

    That would surely also include Norway, eh?, since it's not actually in the EU...

  23. Losheda

    Norway is now my new fav country

    Lets all go to Norway, 5 year warranty on everything is something i cannot resist

  24. raving angry loony

    Norway FTW

    Instead of a "race to the bottom" when it comes to consumer protection and rights, I'd love to start seeing a "race to the top". Right now Norway and France seem to be leading the way (but France is dropping down the list right fast as Sarkosy pays off his big-business backers).

  25. John Dougald McCallum


    No too cold in winter beer too expensive (or was last time I was there) although I do like their attitude towards the consumer in general .I just wish our own Goverment Dept concerning consumer afairs would also tell them to take a hike.The kindle might be a great device but it is too tied to the US for me.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about apple

    Do Apple do much business in Norway I wonder ?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A Kindle in the hand...

    ...ain't gonna happen anytime soon in Norway. Small market, not worth the bother.

  28. Robert Hill

    Norway == Epic Econ 101 Fail...

    I love Norway as a country, but demanding a 5 year warranty on all devices is incredibly stupid, especially with so many not even being designed to last that long these days. I recently tried to re-purpose a 5 year old motherboard, only to find that the BIOS is so old when used with modern software and supporting hardware that is wouldn't work. NOW - should MSI been forced to update that mobo to work with Windows Home Server and the RAID drivers I wanted to use???

    Sure, they could...but the cost of that mobo would have had to greatly increase, as MSI (in this case) would have had to factor in 5 years of support, including BIOS updates. Thankfully, I bet mobos are not considered "consumer devices" by themselves, but the point is not lost - if you demand a 5 year warranty, then expect to PAY for a 5 year warranty - even if the device itself has a likely lifespan of much less. Most of _my_ consumer electronics has a less than 5 year lifespan, either through obsolescense or breakage. I looked at my 5 year old Moto A780 mobile phone recently - there is a reason it is sitting in a drawer, depite being the coolest Linux-powered touchscreen phone when it came out. Hell, even my orignal HTC Touch is long in the tooth, too slow and too limited to be worth keeping a SIM in (compared to my iPhone and Bold).

    The point it, there are a great number of devices that aren't worth keeping 5 years, and forcing a 5 year warranty just drives the cost up (in business school they teach you to calculate the cost of warantys of x years via simple math and estimates, it's not hard to figure out especially for the firms in China that make the hardware). All Norway is doing is driving down the standard of living for their citizens by imposing an implicit price increase on every device sold there, which can only be bad for their own stores (I mean, why not go to the EU and get one cheaper?).

    The people that are cheering this have no idea how micoeconomics works, apparently...

  29. Coconino

    Norway is part of the European Economic Area (not EU)

    Members of the European Economic Area (such as Norway) are spared some of the financial obligations in relation to the European Community. However, they must abide by some of the legislation passed by the the EU (even though, as non-EU members, they don't get a say on what becomes law).

    It was once characterised by a Norwegian Prime minister as a "democracy via fax from Brussels", although how democratic it is when you don't actually get a say on what becomes law remains to be seen...

  30. Graham Marsden

    Norway not in EU....?

    Would the commentards making these comments like to actually do a little bit of *research* before spouting their nonsense?

    Here's a good place to start...

    Or, if that's too much work, there's always Wikipedia...

  31. Kjetil
    Thumb Up

    Norway and EU

    Norway is to all intents and purposes a non-voting member of the EU. We have an agreement that obliges us to enact all EU legislation, and we're usually faster at doing so than the actuall EU-members.

    As for warranty, the law is a bit vague, but things in Norway have a 2 year warranty by law unless the thing is supposed to last significantly longer, in which case the warranty is 5 years. I don't remember the exact wording, but it is extremely vague. But there is precedent that mobile phones are required to have a 5 year warranty, so I assume the Kindle would be the same.

  32. TorL
    Big Brother

    5 year warranty

    What about the right to be able to buy something WITHOUT a 5-year warranty? I live in Norway, and the long warranty (and 25% tax) create expensive products.

    This is especially true for portable devices like mobile phones (and e-readers I guess) that get knocked around.

    The company just bakes the cost into the price, and you end up paying for somebody who wants his mobile fixed after 4.5 years of rough treatment when you've bought three new ones in the meantime since the tech is old.

    Also, people who take care of there things end up subsidising ones who dont.

    Apple has AppleCare where you pay for extra warranty and service for three years and possibly more. Better those that want pay for extended warranties and let other not have to.

  33. Kjetil 1
    Jobs Horns

    @What about apple

    and so on..

  34. Ian R

    @VoodooTrucker et al

    Been here in Oslo for many years now. When I first came it seemed a bit of a nanny state and england seemed freer, but, as I'm sure you can understand, I now feel the reverse is true. When I visit england (home? two homes really, hell perhaps I'm a citizen of the world;-)), I feel watched everywhere and the news on the Beeb is just weird. I guess you have to have some distance to really appreciate how things have changed. When you live through tiny incremental changes the majority do not notice., expensive..however, like most countries, when you work and pay taxes you are financially aclimatized so it does not make a big difference. For a vistor it is painful, I know. Of course, when visiting an english pub the beer is so cheap! So breaks back 'home' are really easy.

    The weather...hmmm...I don't ski...a bit old to start and become an expert, and snow in the city is not fun, takes twice as long to walk anywhere. But, these guys are really clued up. When snow falls (I am always shocked when it starts...last night no snow...the morning, you look through the curtains and there is a couple of feet of snow out there!), there are suddenly snow ploughs on every major street, they even have tiny snowploughs that run along pavements on some streets. And of course, winter tyres, the place does not ground to a halt like england, just keeps merrrily ticking over.

    Ah, but summer. Oslo has a special climate, there may be good and bad summers, but to reach 32 C for a week or two is quite normal. And you know, I really like the distinct seasons. I truly do see and appreciate all four.

    The light...well, this was a bit of a shock at first, winters do seem long and dark but spring and summer, it just keeps on getting lighter. Imagine, enter pub at 23:30, it is light, exit pub at 01:30, it is even lighter! Yes, it is not north enough to get midnight sun, but you certainly notice the difference from england. And ok, you could see the same in Shetland, but hell, it is fun in what is a european captial city with all the expected distractions.

    So, on the whole, move to norway. They love the english (mostly), they love to speak english, the women are far more beautiful on average than england, they do import interesting beers. A great place for IT, each norwegian is much more tech integrated than most english.

    As for taxes, yes, high, but much more obvious, income tax, alcohol, cigs, cars, yes, of course, but in england I believe the level is similar because of all the hidden and stealth taxes, so no real problem.

    Oh...did I mention beer ;-). What fun it is to decide to have a pint at midnight and leave at closing time, 03:00. Very civilised :-)

    So...a nice country...not in EU (which increasingly has benefits, especially if Tony gets new top job)...blonds everywhere (and an enormous catalogue of blond jokes :-)), anglophiles, exceptional IT opportunities especially if you are english, small enough population in a really big country to have space even in a capital city, 2 hour flight to england, Blackadder, Monty Python on TV (they love good english comedy),

    Of course there are niggles, but really, not so much that I care anymore, like I say, beats england and easy to visit Blighty when one wishes, so, come on over, the water's lovely (actually, it mostly is, quite refreshing to get pure water from the tap:-)).

    Well, only eight in the evening, may just watch a film or two and go pubbing after midnight. Hope you'all enjoy your 'after party' at home at 23:45, oh...there is no such thing in there :-)

  35. Anonymous Coward

    Re: Norway == Epic Econ 101 Fail...

    Robert Hill wrote:

    "I love Norway as a country, but demanding a 5 year warranty on all devices is incredibly stupid, especially with so many not even being designed to last that long these days."

    So, demanding that manufacturers make stuff that lasts 5 years is stupid? Hell, let's just burn all the oil (and have a bunch of people working long hours in dodgy coal mines) just to have cheap, shit products made (by people working under not necessarily pleasant factory conditions) for attention-deficient western consumers who'll have to replace those products every few months because they don't last. After a while, even the flimsiest products won't be cheap any more.

    "if you demand a 5 year warranty, then expect to PAY for a 5 year warranty - even if the device itself has a likely lifespan of much less."

    Sure, a manufacturer needs to price in the likelihood of people making them repair badly made stuff. That won't add too much to the cost if the manufacturer is competent.

    "The point it, there are a great number of devices that aren't worth keeping 5 years, and forcing a 5 year warranty just drives the cost up (in business school they teach you to calculate the cost of warantys of x years via simple math and estimates, it's not hard to figure out especially for the firms in China that make the hardware)."

    So, you want more shiny more often, therefore everyone does. I don't think so. A lot of people just want a mobile phone to work for more than two years, which I believe was what the phone manufacturers lobbied for in Norway (the consumer council wanted them to honour a three year warranty), and those manufacturers got stiffed when it went to court and they walked out with the five year obligation. And why not? The argument was that if you spend as much on a phone as a washing machine (which is the case considering the total price, which they're also obliged to tell you when selling phones on a contract in Norway), why should the washing machine have a five year warranty and not the phone?

    "All Norway is doing is driving down the standard of living for their citizens by imposing an implicit price increase on every device sold there, which can only be bad for their own stores (I mean, why not go to the EU and get one cheaper?)."

    Why not indeed? As for the standard of living (which isn't all about how much shiny one can buy from the consumer electronics outlets, but anyway), I believe lots of people have their share of gadgetry in Norway, and I doubt that they imported it all, somehow.

    "The people that are cheering this have no idea how micoeconomics works, apparently..."

    You ignore a bunch of stuff, however, like pricing in reliability probably making cheap shit jump more in price than the more expensive stuff. Sure, you don't get really cheap gadgets as a result (although I've seen DVD players going for around 250 NOK in the past), but would you buy really cheap gadgets, anyway? Only if you have a shiny purchase compulsion.

    Then there's the cost of "disposing" of used gadgets. I'm sure that having the stores take back electrical goods is seen as a bad thing by the "too long warranty" crowd as well, and that we should take such baked-in costs off the price of new gadgets, too. That just leaves the local municipality with waste management problems, but since the municipality is a public organisation, there's limited sympathy for them from economists supporting the deregulation of everything: big business needs all the incentives and rewards in that crazy world.

    But hey, thanks for the lecture. Good science (which economics almost is) involves observations, but you'd have us believe that half of Norway shares a single black-and-white television set. And thanks for the unwitting point about false economies: stuff has to be cheap because it doesn't last long enough, therefore keep it cheap. Spare others the "fail" label, please.

  36. Def Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Re: @VoodooTrucker et al

    Do we really want to encourage more Brits to come over here? ;o)

    But yeah, agree with pretty much everything you said, and I`ll add that while the winters here are colder, they are also far nicer than in the UK where the rain is constantly being blown into your face. I'm certainly never moving back to the UK.

  37. Winkypop Silver badge


    Norwegian wood

  38. Neoc

    Re: Robert Hill

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. You seem to be confused about what a warranty is - it is a promise that the product will continue to function *at the same level* for X years (whatever 'X' happens to be).

    So to use your own example, it simply means that the Motherboard will continue to work with the hardware *available at the time of purchase* for the next 5 years. It does *not* mean that the MB company has to constantly upgrade the product because you feel like buying a new/faster/more powerful GPU.

    Ditto with (for example) car warranties - you expect the car to keep working, *not* for the car company to supply you with a new hybrid engine because "hybrid" is the in-thing at the moment.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    5 year warranty?

    sheeesh. i wish I'd bought my PS3 in Norway then! :-|

  40. Thomas Bottrill


    "I love Norway as a country, but demanding a 5 year warranty on all devices is incredibly stupid, especially with so many not even being designed to last that long these days."

    The UK Sale of Goods Act requires products to last for a reasonable period of time. Watchdog seems to think that reasonable for an electronic product is about six years.

  41. Ian R

    @ Def

    ...and, in the winter, going out of town when it has just snowed, it can be like a Xmas card, very pretty!

    We should grab a beer one day! Name your bar :-)

  42. Anonymous Coward

    5 Year warranty...

    In England there is a statutory 6 year warranty with the retailer that not many people know about, the retailers would rather flog you the extended warranty that they provide.

    Give trading standards a call if you want confirmation....oh hang on...they are government based, give Which magazine a call.

  43. Secretgeek

    Definitely illegal.

    "Norwegian law requires such contracts to be clearly written."

    I couldn't understand a word of it!

    Sorry, just trying to lighten the tone.

    I'll get my coat.

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