Doesn’t she deserve something good? NO, she doesn’t. And let me tell you why, dear Chumby board members: because she lives in EUROPE – and it’s an accepted fact that Chumby Incorperated *resents* Europe not shipping a single Chumby unit across the Atlantic… so no love for mom here.
Chumby “loves” Europe? Well, please prove it to me then. I live in Stockholm, Sweden – home of Ikea, Volvo cars and the beloved Battlefield video game-series, and neighbor of the nation that brought you the operating system that is running on your device.
How do I order a Chumby? And by order, I mean order right now – not in a year, not in a month or not in a week, but right now. Just how much do you love Europe?
We’re still in the process of expanding into Europe. We added the UK in early April. In the last week, we’ve added Spain and Germany. Within the next week or so, we’ll be adding France, Italy and Portugal.
For each country, we test our online store and perform test shipments before opening the store entirely. I’m sure we’ll get to Sweden shortly, since we’re essentially working our way through the European Union.
This is a lot of work for a small company such as ours – in this economy, most companies are shrinking rather than expanding. As I mentioned in another post, even companies much larger than ours with products on the market longer than the chumby are still not avialable in Europe – the Microsoft Zune and Amazon Kindle, for example.
thank you for a straight answer way beyond any expectations I had. It honors you, and it honors the company (and I do mean that – companies in general tend to fend off any critizism like this by keeping quiet).
However, there is something I don’t understand. Why do you guys just sell Chumbies to a few, selected EU states? Why not all? I mean – what goes for one state should pretty much go for the entire Union. I mean, it’s not like you have excluded certain US states from purchasing Chumbies, right? And as far as I know, there shouldn’t be any hassle with licenses either. I mean, you guys own the IP yourselves (at least to my understanding). Regarding localization… well, if you were to go on a field trip to Scandinavia, you would probably understand why movies aren’t dubbed and why… uh, just about every street sign is in English. We are nothing like the rest of Europe, rest assured. :)
As long as the Chumby runs on 220V @ 50Hz, we’ve been ready to use it since… well, whenever you launched it in the states – and you can take that to the bank :).
I’m looking forward to any future updates, and please don’t be shy about it. I’m confident there are plenty of potential consumers subscribing to this RSS-feed :).
As a hardware device, we are required to be certified in each jurisdiction we sell into – usually each country’s equivalent of the US’s FCC,, though we sometimes have to go through some additional certifications, plus get import approval. We also have to clear trademarks and other intellectual property rights – in some countries, we have been threatened with litigation if we ship there. Some countries have strict language requirements.
In the US, all states universally recognize the federal certifications, all states use a uniform postal system, the tax systems are very similar, and in general, interstate commerce is very easy for virtually all products.
For the EU, we had to get CE certification, which we did several months ago – however, the EU is still not uniform with regard to taxes and import duties, data privacy, disposal of electronics, trademarks, etc, and each country still has its own customs for products coming in from the outside (it’s much easier *between* EU countries).
For instance, last year, one user had a gray-market chumby delivered to Germany, where the customs officials literally cut it to ribbons. Devices that went to the UK didn’t have that problem.
So, comparing the EU and the US in this regard is very misleading – we have to treat each country separately whether we like it or not.
From a practical standpoint, we also have to make sure our e-commerce system will handle all of the different styles of postal addressing that each country uses – do we handle all of the characters, how to we do at least some type of validation? Even *within* some EU countries, it can be different. There are also fraud detection issues, return issues, warranty issues, etc etc. that all vary by country. Some of our patent and content licenses only apply in certain jurisdictions. The list goes on and on.
The EU is a much looser confederation than the United States – each country has retained enough sovereign control to make this sort of thing nearly as complicated as if they were still unaffiliated.