European Mac fans call Mac Mini pricing unfair

European shoppers are petitioning Apple to bring EU pricing better in line with that of the United States.

Apple Computer's "most affordable" Mac--the Mac Mini--has drawn a storm of protest from European shoppers, who are petitioning the Mac maker to bring EU pricing better in line with that of the United States.

The online petition states: "We'd like to make an appeal to Apple on the pricing of the new Mac Mini in the European Union. Basing on the last long-term rate of exchange of U.S. dollars to euros (and vice versa)--which is 1.3293 on the spot market, so let's say 1.32--both announced prices of the Mac mini in Europe, 489 euros and 589 euros, respectively, are much too high."

The petition also states that German users come off particularly badly in the pricing scrap, with an extra 50 euros for the lower spec Mac Mini and 60 euros for the higher spec machine.

The petition's writers also claim the higher EU pricing is counterproductive for Apple's business strategy and would serve to discourage potential PC to Mac switchers.

So far, the petition has attracted more than 2,000 signatures from across the European Union.

One petitioner, 'Ronald', wrote "Europe is as big a market as the United States, so the prices should be similar!" Another, Walter Vermeir, added: "I like the Mac but not the price."

U.K. customers will also be forced to pay more than their counterparts across the Atlantic. The cheaper Mac Mini sells for US$499 in the United States around 268 pounds. However, to buy the same Mac in the United Kingdom would cost 339 pounds.

One U.K. resident, Steve Netting, who signed the petition, said: "We always get ripped off in the UK. Would be great to finally see a company treating us as equals."

It's not the first time Apple has faced the ire of customers over differences in European pricing.

In December, the Office of Fair Trading referred a complaint over the iTunes music store to the European Commission, claiming the almost 10 pence difference between the prices U.K. and EU customers pay is discriminatory.

Apple did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Jo Best of reported from London.