An error possibly due to an XML shopping feed between Yahoo Japan’s shopping engine and computer retailer Catena led to a $1,100 discount on Apple EMacs, resulting in 100 million false sales. Yahoo Japan Corp. mistakenly advertised new personal computers for just 2,787 yen–about one-fortieth of their actual retail price–on Wednesday and Thursday, sparking orders for more than 100 million units before the error was noticed, The Yomiuri Shimbun reported yesterday. With current exchange rates, 2,787 yen is about $25 US dollars.
The computer distributor, Catena Corp., an information technology development firm based in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on Friday e-mailed the about 20,000 people who had placed orders for the computers, saying the contracts would not be honored. The price posted on the Yahoo Japan site for the computers was that for a digital versatile disk.
Catena also posted a message on its Web site saying no contract had been made with the prospective computer buyers because it had not sent e-mail confirmations.
According to an official of a major computer distributor, the Apple eMac model of computer normally retails for about 115,000 yen. But they were listed on the Web site for the tax-inclusive price of 2,787 yen between 2 p.m. Wednesday and about 11 a.m. Thursday.