Saying 'nyet' to Apple's iPhone
There's good money to be made selling cell phones in Russia, a country with more than 180 million mobile subscribers. Three Russian carriers account for eight out of 10 of those mobile phones, and there's enough money to be made reselling them to make Maxim Nogotkov, the college drop-out who runs the country's second-largest independent chain, one of world's youngest billionaires at age 36.
There's also good money to be made selling iPhones -- a product with enough cachet among Russia's nouveau riches that at one point last September a black market iPhone 5 could fetch $3,700 in Moscow or St. Petersburg.
But 10 months later, there's not an iPhone to be had at any of the big three carriers' stores. Last week the last hold-out -- VimpleCom, which sells phones under the Beeline brand -- cut its ties with Apple and began offering its customers Samsung's Galaxy S4 instead.