In a surprising move for the consumer electronics turned retail heavyweight, Apple has internally announced that retail store employees can match prices of other authorized retailers.
The key phrase here is "authorized retailers" which means that Apple isn't going to price match some gray marketer selling Macs online or pretty much anyone that doesn't adhere to Apple's strict Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy, which states:
...Minimum Advertised Price (M.A.P.) Guidelines apply to reseller's advertisement of products acquired through the Reseller BTO Apple Store. The M.A.P. price for all BTO product acquired through the Reseller BTO Apple Store is the reseller acquisition cost divided by .92. Any deviations from the Guidelines may result in a reduction in AppleFund and/or Apple Specialist Resource Fund payments.
Previously store managers had a little room to make deals on larger purchases but there has never been a formal policy on price matching. The people this will probably cheese off the most is Apple's remaining network of independent retail Apple stores (we have a great one in Philly called Springboard Media).
ifoAppleStore notes that Apple doesn't traditionally discount its products except on Black Friday and that Last Sunday Best Buy announced US$50-$150 discounts on various Macs, while Amazon.com typically offers year-round discounts on Macintosh models.