I was recently reading about the Amstrad CPC 472, which was a CPC 464 with an extra, unusable 8KB of RAM added to avoid Spanish import fees on computers with 64KB or less. Did any other computers have features added solely to exploit loopholes in particular sales regulations?

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    Spanish import taxing for <64k computers also caused the premature release of the Spectrum 128, long before it was available in the rest of Europe.
    – tofro
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 19:37
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    In the US, there used to be a tariff on LCD screens--but not on devices containing them--that was larger than the combined value of all the non-screen components in a cheap laptop.
    – supercat
    Commented May 1, 2017 at 18:31
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    @supercat how was this exploited commercially? Commented May 2, 2017 at 11:40
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    @RobertColumbia: I don't know of that, but I have heard of wholesale quantities of laptops being imported for purposes of disassembly. I think if an entire production run were used for no other purpose customs might have decided that the units weren't bona fide laptops, but if a reasonable quantity were actually sold and apparently used as laptops, the fact that the displays could be yanked wouldn't cause them to be otherwise.
    – supercat
    Commented May 2, 2017 at 14:20
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    Playstation 3 is not retro yet, but its capability to run Linux (playstation.com/ps3-openplatform/index.html) apparently was designed as a 'tax break' feature. It was removed in 2010. Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


In Spain the computers must have the ñ key. The old ZX Spectrum 48K didn't have it. The ZX Spectrum + 2 solved it.

The law says:

"Todos los aparatos de funcionamiento eléctrico o mecánico qué se utilicen para escritura, impresión, retransmisión de información y transmisión de datos", reza el artículo 2 del anteproyecto, "deberán incorporar, en el momento de venta al usuario, la letra eñe y los restantes caracteres específicos del idioma castellano". El artículo 3 hace referencia a "las infracciones y sanciones en materia de defensa del consumidor y de la protección agro alimentaria", de acuerdo con lo previsto en la Ley General para la Defensa de los Consumidores y Usuarios. La sanción máxima puede llegar a los 100 millones de pesetas.

From: Newsletter El Pais in July 1991

Translated to English, this reads:

"All electrical or mechanical devices which are used for writing, printing, transmitting information and data transmission", reads article 2 of the preliminary draft, "shall incorporate, at the time of sale to the user, the letter ñ and the other characters specific to the Castilian language." Article 3 refers to "infringements and sanctions in the area of consumer defence and agricultural food protection," in accordance with the provisions of the General law for the defence of consumers and users. The maximum penalty can reach 100 million pesetas (€601 012).

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    I'm sorry, what does "must" mean in this context, and what is the penalty if not? Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 11:34
  • @Tobia, I extended my response. "Must" means 600000€ penalti!!!
    – Duefectu
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 12:16
  • Also, the "ZX Spectrum +" and the "Inestronica Spectrum +" don't have "ñ", I edited to. In 1985 the CEE makes a protection law that allow to Shell, but in 1991 Spanish goverment make another to force the "ñ" key on the keyboards. It's very difficult to write in Spanish without "ñ", words like year (año) has a lot of use.
    – Duefectu
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 12:25
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    Wow. As an Italian and a user of a ANSI (US) keyboard, I sympathize with any Spanish programmer or engineer who may happen to prefer the ANSI layout. Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 18:30
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    It's very fun: YEAR translated is AÑO, but Without Ñ is ANO. ANO is ASS in English! xxxD
    – Duefectu
    Commented Sep 16, 2017 at 21:53

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