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FEATURE APPLE IN SPAIN: 2012 WORDS BY CLAUDIA PAREDES Mac users around the globe often think of Macs to be expensive specialty machines, while PCs are hand- assembled on the cheap. Macs have the reputation for great style, quality, and functionality. There is a strong following and admiration for these machines that keeps growing. A number of the world's great cities are in Spain. Malaga was founded near Gibraltar, where the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean, by Phoenicians interested in the region's mineral resources. Malaga was a central city for the Moors during their seven-century long occupation. Barcelona, on the eastern coast, is a metropolis on the sea, sprawling inland and home to many creative industries. Madrid, the capital city, is in the center of the somewhat square Iberian Peninsula (the Romans called it Hispania). Bilbao in the north is growing through investment as a business center and major Atlantic shipping port. The Guggenheim Museum that looks like a giant wad of tin foil staked that city out as a cultural icon, while its highway system is being woven through the low mountains surrounding the port. However, Spain is more than majestic cities. It also has a unique history. For 40 years, Spain was under the reign of a dictatorship and lagged behind its rivals of the last 300 years or so. France, Germany, England, and the United States were advancing in terms of global and economic development, and Spain was not keeping up. Nevertheless, Spain is more regionalized than America and its European neighbors, and it has fiercely independent autonomous regions that play key roles in national government. However, this year, Spain has been struggling economically and received aid from the EU Commission. In order to restore Spain's economy the European finance ministers asked the EU Commission to approve a $125 billion bailout of Spain's banking system. This bailout would restructure Spain's banking recapitalization and allow the nation to implement significant fiscal and labor market reforms and measures; this would strengthen its economy, and hopefully company. "We are constantly booked out and expanding — competition is high in volume but low in quality," he says confidently. Originally from the Dominican Republic and Florida, he is pleased to be in a place that shuts down every day from 2 to 5:30 each afternoon because "everybody is taking their little siesta." "Mac enthusiasts in Spain are everywhere just like Linux and Unix enthusiasts, but the PC is clearly more common than the Mac," says Sven. As is the case throughout the world, he says that, "one of the big downsides of a Mac is the cost compared to a PC." Computer stores in Spain usually carry only PC hardware, anyway, but Sven echoes the consensus we have found: "Nevertheless, a Mac will always make a good name for itself in the design community and elsewhere. Not only in Spain, but worldwide." recover from its current financial woes. With this loan Spain is hopefully on its way to restructuring the banking sector with the goals of new job creation and sustainable growth. Although Spain is going through economic turmoil, Apple has opened a new store in Valladolid, only two hours north of Madrid. Later this year reports indicate a new store could be opened in the city's main shopping district, Calle de Santiago. These developments should come as no surprise, since there are many Apple enthusiasts all around Spain. Sven is the founder of Mind-Probe , currently living in Esplugas, about 30 miles from the center of Barcelona. He says business is booming for his website design and Flash animation We also contacted Miguel A. Hernandez Lasanta in La Rioja, the famous wine-growing region in northeastern Spain. The region is the smallest in Spain, in size and population. Most of the inhabitants live in the capital city of Logro–o in the mainly agricultural Ebro river valley. Miguel is a web designer working on a G4 iMac using GoLive and Photoshop and trying to "avoid Microsoft software" such as Office apps, preferring open-source apps. Miguel recently helped organize "Rioja Party," a yearly event taking place at the end of June when thousands of computer users convene in a large school gym to take advantage of a super fast internet connection (16 MB/s) to play and learn. Participants game together or otherwise take part in activities offered through the event. Like the high school cafeteria, participants group themselves according to common interests, so there is the "Mac zone" and the "Linux zone" and the "games zone," plus all kinds of workshops, demos and lectures. All this takes place over a long weekend, from Friday to Sunday night and costs 12 Euros, about $15. That includes breakfast (thick black coffee, chocolate and pastries). 108 MacDirectory

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