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Gazelle CEO Israel Ganot discusses Apple's entry into trade-in

Apple's entry into the iPhone trade-in market this week is an important addition to the already growing number of options available for consumers looking to get money for old hardware. But how does their competition feel about it? We sent a few questions over to Gazelle CEO Israel Ganot today to see what one of the net's biggest buyers of used iPhones thinks Apple's latest expansion. These questions were answered via email.

TUAW: What affect do you think Apple's new trade-in program will have on Gazelle?

Israel Ganot: Apple's entry into reCommerce validates the market opportunity we pioneered at Gazelle. Because we take a different approach than Apple - our focus is on online trade-ins - we're actually pretty excited to have Apple in the game as another voice to raise consumer awareness of the opportunity to get value from used devices.

TUAW: Do you think it will ultimately be a good thing, raising awareness of other trade-in sites, as people begin to shop around?

IS: We fully expect Apple's in-store program to help accelerate consumer adoption to trade-in their old devices; we estimate the U.S. reCommerce market to be $14B by 2015, so there's obviously a huge opportunity here for multiple players to be successful.

TUAW: Can you speculate as to why Gazelle is offering more for some models than Apple's own store? Obviously you don't know the details of their business, but it was interesting to see that you were offering more money outright to buy a 16 GB iPhone 5 than Apple was.

IS: Gazelle is focused on delivering a great experience and a great price to consumers - this is our core business, not just an ancillary service we cross-sell. 9 out of 10 Gazelle customers report having a great experience with us and competitive pricing is a part of what drives that high satisfaction.

TUAW: What is it about iOS products that allows them to keep their high resale/trade-in value despite only being upgraded around once a year?

IS: There is an insatiable demand in secondary markets for high-end devices like smartphones and tablets. This is particularly true about Apple devices, though Android devices also have a similar demand. Many of these devices are made with the best materials available and are still valuable, even after their first owner is finished with the product.

Think of emerging markets where top of the line iOS devices may not be available, or affordable, to the everyday person. Some of these people may prefer a slightly used iPhone 4 with all of the bells and whistles, rather than a lower-end new model of a different brand. It's a lot like someone who is in the market for a BMW. Many cannot afford the top of the line product, but are still excited about the idea of buying a slightly used premium model.

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