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Tuesday, March 06, 2012, 05:58 am PT (08:58 am ET)

Russia reclassifies Apple's iPad as a computer, avoiding 5% import tax

Russia's national customs agency has decided to reclassify Apple's iPad as a personal computer, a change that will allow customers to avoid a 5 percent import tax that was previously applied to sales.

Russia's Federal Customs Service has nixed the 5 percent fee by nixing the "navigator" classification that was previously applied to the iPad, according to Vedomosti (via Google Translate). The iPad 2 has been available in Russia since May of 2011.

The iPad was previously considered a navigation device because it can include a GPS radio for positioning data. However, only the 3G-equipped iPad model includes GPS, while the Wi-Fi-only model does not.

Tuesday's report did not state whether the Russian Federal Customs Service drew a distinction between an iPad with GPS versus without. It did, however, say that "other" tablets with GPS would still be classified as navigation devices and would be subject to the 5 percent tax.

The subject of whether to classify the iPad as a personal computer or something else entirely has been a matter of debate since Apple first launched the device in 2010. For its part, Apple has positioned the iPad as a "post-PC" device.

iPad 2


Companies that track PC and device sales have been divided as to whether to include the iPad when analyzing the PC market. One study released in February by NPD DisplaySearch found that combined iPad and MacBook sales gave Apple a 27 percent share of all mobile PC shipments, nearly tripling the 9.9 percent share held by second-place Hewlett-Packard.

In terms of total PC sales, including desktops, Canalys reported in January that sales of the iPad pushed Apple ahead of HP in the December quarter. But excluding the tablet's sales numbers, the market analysis firm said, would see the sector instead post a net loss for the three-month frame.