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In Australia, Apple Fined $2.5 Million For '4G' Advertising Claims

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the we-thought-this-island-was-for-crime dept.

Advertising 154

Whiney Mac Fanboy writes "Apple has agreed to pay a $2.25 million (AUD) fine (along with 300k legal costs) to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for misleading advertising. Apple misrepresented their iPad product as being a '4G' device, when in fact they're only compatible with a very small percentage of 4G networks around the world. The Age online has the full story."

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154 comments

So, that's about... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264397)

10 minutes of iPad sales?

Re:So, that's about... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264491)

We really are talking about 3-4 minutes of Apple profits. That's how much money they're raking in.

Re:So, that's about... (3, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40264717)

Apple earned about 25,000 million last year, which comes to 2.8 million per *60* minutes..... not a mere 3-4. I can't help wondering why the judge is worried about the fine being too large. Apple won't be hurt by this.

Re:So, that's about... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40265099)

Apple earned about 25,000 million last year, which comes to 2.8 million per *60* minutes..... not a mere 3-4. I can't help wondering why the judge is worried about the fine being too large. Apple won't be hurt by this.

The judge specifcally said he was worried about the scale, not that it was too small, that the upper ranges he was talking about was a $300million company would suggest to me that if the numbers they do present show what you are saying he will flip his lid and up the penalty.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/australian-it/judge-wants-data-on-wealth-before-he-rules-on-apple/story-e6frgakx-1226389535095

"I don't know whether we're talking about a corporation that makes $10m or $300m," he said. "How do I know that it (the penalty) is meaningful for Apple if you don't put before me any idea of what its financial position is?"

Judge not very bright? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40266045)

Perhaps the judge missed the news stories about how Apple is now the largest company in the world?

A search for "apple market capitalization" on google is all he really needs to do. $580 billion dollars, judge. $11.6 billion profit in the last 3 months.

Apple must be delighted that they got a judge that knows so little about technology or finance.

Re:Judge not very bright? (4, Insightful)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#40266615)

He probably does know. But he can't make a judgement based on what he "knows", only on the evidence that's been placed before him during the case. That's how the law works.

Re:So, that's about... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40266447)

The fine will be paid by Apple's Australian arm of the business.

$2.25 million is over 2000 iPhones if you cost them at $900.

Now if the markup over costs on that is 100% (the phone costs Apple $450) then that's 4000 iPhone sales lost.

So whilst $2.25 million is small change for Apple, for the Australian branch of the company that is selling iPhones, it will be significant.

It's not finalized yet (2)

barvennon (2643433) | about 2 years ago | (#40264421)

A reviewer judge has called for info on how much investment Apple has in Oz also how many ppl were affected.

Re:It's not finalized yet (5, Informative)

barvennon (2643433) | about 2 years ago | (#40264487)

Judge wants more than the $2.5mil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264543)

>Apple has agreed to pay a $2.25m fine and $300,000 towards the ACCC's legal costs but Federal Court judge Mordy Bromberg, who must approve the settlement, questioned why there was no information for him about the number of affected customers and Apple's total worth.

>"I don't know whether we're talking about a corporation that makes $10m or $300m," he said. "How do I know that it (the penalty) is meaningful for Apple if you don't put before me any idea of what its financial position is?"

From the article you linked, which suggests the judge is saying, "we are going to smack these folks around, and love it, but are we smacking them around hard enough, maybe you should raise the bar ACCC or tell me why we are only going this hard then i'll let them off light."

Re:Judge wants more than the $2.5mil (2)

sd4f (1891894) | about 2 years ago | (#40264677)

You have to know how the ACCC works, they're a fairly noble in intentions organisation, but alas, run by bureaucrats and government types. They don't chase the real culprits, only the easy targets when hey can see a bit of cash raising is available, and getting their name plastered in the media to justify their existence. The groceries business is a duopoly, and it appears that the ACCC do absolutely nothing to those two companies who exploit that situation, nor do they do anything to the four major banks, who seem to be so extremely in step, that I wonder if they aren't really just one major bank.

Re:Judge wants more than the $2.5mil (4, Insightful)

ATMAvatar (648864) | about 2 years ago | (#40264797)

No, it's a rational observation that a fine must be meaningful to a corporation for it to have any hope of affecting change.

If the fine is too small (as fines generally are), it is dismissed as a simple cost of business. The immediate problem is remedied (so as not to piss off the authoritative body that caught them), but similar problems are guaranteed to arise again in the future. After all, if it wasn't profitable to break the law in the first place, the company wouldn't have done it. If the fine is going to be a small fraction of that profit each time, the smart business decision is to continue the practice of doing something which breaks the law, preparing for the inevitable "whoops - we'll fix that, your honor" for when someone catches on, and milking the ill-gotten profits until then.

Re:Judge wants more than the $2.5mil (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#40265411)

the process should be streamlined. can't we have the companies *pay in advance* to the authorities, in order to seek their favor.

(oh. right. they already do this. quite effectively, too.)

Re:Judge wants more than the $2.5mil (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 2 years ago | (#40266845)

The obvious solution being, of course, to fine business entities as a proportion of annual profits averaged over, say, the last 5 years.

Re:Judge wants more than the $2.5mil (-1)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40267027)

No, it's a rational observation that a fine must be meaningful to a corporation for it to have any hope of affecting change.

If the change hoped for is that Apple develops hardware specifically to interface with Australian networks, this really isn't the way to go about it. Apple could pull out of the Australian market entirely without bleeding too much off their bottom line, the same as Google pulled out of the Chinese market. Where were the fines when Apple was selling computers called "Macintosh?" They were not fruit! That's false marketing! I honestly can't believe that Australian consumers were duped into purchasing technology products from a foreign country without at least considering that the technology might be... foreign.

Just MHO, but what this whole debocle appears to be is that Australian consumers are so voraciously hungry for Apple products that they're royally pissed off that no Apple 4G cellular data device can interface with AU networks no matter how much they shake their fists, and have turned away from eating their own government alive to create a new enemy because they're pissed off they don't have the shiney that they dreamed they'd have, and the AU goverment is ecstatic about this.

Do Austrialian citizens have any difficulty determining that The Australian is actually a newspaper, and not, as it were, a citizen of the country, as the product title would suggest? Though the publisher should not be concerned about a fine from the US goverment nor upsetting US consumers, as we have a few colloqualisms over here woven into our capitalistic culture... one is "buyer beware," and another is "a fool and his money are parted easily." But if Australian consumers wish to have Apple specifically develop technology to interface with networks in a foreign country, I highly recommend meditation on yet another: "you will catch more flies with honey."

Pocket change... (3, Interesting)

__Paul__ (1570) | about 2 years ago | (#40264427)

...and the resulting exposure probably saved them tens of millions in advertising.

Re:Pocket change... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#40264505)

To all those people who would hear this in the media, but not know about Apple?

Re:Pocket change... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264693)

Nope, to all those people that dont own an iPhone 4G that they are missing out on something big, and it reminds them to add it to their shopping list.

Loosing fans (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264511)

"This piece of plastic wont work on our networks?"

I doubt it's the kind of advertising they either wanted or needed frankly. That being said it is their own fault and they deserve every lick the ACCC feels like giving them, certainly very few/if any people in the Australian community are supporting them in this, even the most rabid applebois that I know were saying that Apple was pretty stupid with their actions. That they are trying to block the galaxy s3 here also hasn't made them very many friends either.

Re:Loosing fans (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40267061)

That they are trying to block the galaxy s3 here also hasn't made them very many friends either.

Let's examine this statement, shall we?

Why would Apple want to block sales of such a blatent knock off [mobiletor.com] of their own product? [cbsistatic.com]

If anything can be learned from this story, its that Australian consumers aren't exactly discrimating when it comes to spending money on technology. It's not too far a stretch that consumers might purchase the Samsung believing it is an Apple product, and then suing Apple and fining them when they determine that it sucks. So Apple has interest in preventing that.

3g, 4g advertising scams (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264453)

All carriers play pretty fast and loose with claims of wireless speeds, 3G, 4G, and associated coverage areas.
There is no "4g" coverage in my area, yet every phone retailer sells and advertises 4G phones.

Why does only Apple get called on this nonsense?

Socialist paradise (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264563)

>Why does only Apple get called on this nonsense?

I would say that it is because it is Australia, and we can.

Re:Socialist paradise (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264637)

Socialist paradise

Immigrating recently from Europe in Australia, I can tell you Australia isn't at any rate a socialist country, much less a paradise for socialists.

Re:Socialist paradise (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264949)

Living in Australia all my life, I can only sadly point out that irony is one of our national passtimes, as is sarcasm and satire, equally that consumer protection laws and bodies [like the ACCC] are often passed of by our American brethren as Communist.

Re:Socialist paradise (1)

Vaseline Hero (2658169) | about 2 years ago | (#40266421)

Believe it or not, Socialism and Communism are not the same thing. Calling something 'socialist' is not necessarily meant as an insult. Consumer protection laws and bodies (Both exist in America, albeit in different forms. OSHA, labor unions, the FDA, and similar bodies of government are good examples) are a part of a socialist government. Communism has nothing to do with that, since Communism is an ecomomic system, and nothing more. Communist countries have Socialist governments, but Socialist countries don't always have a Communist economic structure.

Re:Socialist paradise (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about 2 years ago | (#40266747)

Socialism is an economic system, the main aim is to achieve socialised ownership of the means of production and of the economy. The only real difference is, the communist implementation of socialism was disasterously inhumane, and pretty much ever since the end of european communism, lots of sympathisers have had to backpeddle, and try to isolate themselves from the realities of what a socialist agenda is, by attributing it and burying it with communism; that's why trotsky gets floundered around so much these days, because he hasn't got the social stigma of mass murders that lenin and stalin have. The main problem with socialism is, it tries to break down self reliance, and place it completely in the hands of the state or government, and that can be good if people want to do that themselves, but not good when others ideals are forced on other people, and the system can't be escaped from.

I digress from the topic, Apple got caught out because they made a mistake, and it was easy for the ACCC to capitalise on this, i'm no apple lover, i don't own any apple products, but i think, while having an organisation like the ACCC is useful, they don't pursue targets unless they're open and shut cases, and the organisation seems to be in the pocket of some other large companies, who seem to get away with significantly more.

I like having government organisations like this in australia, particularly the industry ombudsmen, they've been invaluable in some persoanl cases, particularly dealing with telecommunications companies, who insist on squashing the rights of the consumer at every possible turn, the attitude i've seen from telecoms industry is largely that the consumer is reliant, and they must be screwed, they really appear to be an entitled industry, that feels they are entitled to make money, without satisfying the customer, or hold up to their end of the deal.

Re:3g, 4g advertising scams (2)

jibjibjib (889679) | about 2 years ago | (#40265387)

Because this isn't just about a lack of coverage or network capacity. There are actual 4G LTE networks in Australia, and Apple was selling a device that wouldn't connect to them but advertising it as 4G.

Re:3g, 4g advertising scams (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#40265445)

Because only Apple's 4g devices don't actually work on 4g networks in Australia. While you may not have coverage for 4g, if you go to an area that has it at least the 4G phones you buy will work, The ipad will not.

"Apple had offered to provide full refunds" (5, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40264495)

Funny how these markets and lawyers and politicians always leave-out relevant facts. "Alan Archibald, QC, acting for Apple, told the court it was irrelevant how many iPads had been sold or returned because Apple had offered to provide full refunds, so there was no loss to customers. "What conceiveable damage might there be?", he said."

The guy forgets that Apple only offered these refunds AFTER the government started prosecuting them. That alone is reason enough to fine them, because had the government not existed, then Apple would have happily lied with its "iPhone 4G" campaign and refused to refund the cash to the ripped-off Australians. (Also refunding the phone doesn't mean customers are exempt from the 2-3 year contracts. Now they are phoneless, but still stuck with a bill.)

Re:"Apple had offered to provide full refunds" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264925)

Except it wasn't for the iPhone - it was for the iPad which has a pay-as-you-go mobile plan (in most countries at least not certain about Australia).

Re:"Apple had offered to provide full refunds" (2)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | about 2 years ago | (#40265485)

The "offer" is also rather moot given that Australian law would oblige them to take them back if they were not fit for purpose (ie connecting to a customers 4G provider)

Re:"Apple had offered to provide full refunds" (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40266021)

Funny how these markets and lawyers and politicians always leave-out relevant facts. "Alan Archibald, QC, acting for Apple, told the court it was irrelevant how many iPads had been sold or returned because Apple had offered to provide full refunds, so there was no loss to customers.

This doesn't matter under Australian law. They aren't being sued by customers, they are being fined by the authorities for breaking the law.

Apple knew it's "4G" would not work on Australian LTE networks (the frequencies used by Telstra and planning to be used by other telcos are not secret by a long shot) but advertised it anyway, misleading advertising is the law they were charged with breaking.

The fine was probably less than the lawyers. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264513)

Delimiter – an independent, Australia-focued tech news site – have been covering this story [delimiter.com.au]:

To your writer, a $2.2 million fine appears fairly ridiculous in the larger context of the issue, given the fact that Apple made some $4.88 billion in revenue from Australia in the past financial year. $2.2 million, in that context is less than a blip on Apple’s radar; and it’s certainly not a disincentive to do the same thing again. We’re talking about pocket change here.

However, as I’ve previously also written, there have been questions raised about this issue from the start of the legal process. Why, for instance, is the ACCC still pursuing Apple over the issue, when Apple has already agreed to give anyone who complains about its new iPad (of which we expect there will be almost nobody) a refund, and modified its 4G marketing materials quickly, as soon as it became apparent the wording was an issue? The whole issue seems like the regulator is making a mountain out of a molehill. I think Apple is probably being too nice to the ACCC on this one, in agreeing to pay a fine at all. Perhaps the amount it’s agreed to be fined is merely less than the cost of its legal team having to seriously fight the case.

a little understated (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 2 years ago | (#40264619)

They sort of buried the lead a bit phrasing it that way. The last I heard, there are zero 4G towers in the entirety of Australia. Yeah, none. So now the law suit makes a lot of sense. A normal person would have removed "4G" from advertising if the entire country didn't have it. When it rolled out on phones and tablets in the US, only large cities had it and even that was controversial and had some small, local law suits. But zero towers in the country? That's just stupid. I see why Apple got fined.

Re:a little understated (3, Informative)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | about 2 years ago | (#40264695)

There are zero 4G towers in any countries, including the U.S. The best we have are technically 3.5 G, as no service yet meets the 4G standard.

Re:a little understated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264757)

I don't really get the problem. It's still a 4G capable device. Isn't it the carriers that should not advertise it for 4G? People can still bring it to other countries with them and use 4G.
I mean I could buy a wireless laptop and I couldn't use the wireless at home without a router, but I don't complain it isn't really wireless.
Or maybe I just don't understand the issue.

Re:a little understated (2)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40265067)

Carriers don't directly advertise the iPad, Apple does. So it's their own marketing that was misleading (in that they claimed it supported 4G LTE, but Telstra's 4G LTE network was incompatible by virtue of being a different frequency, so it was in fact not 4G LTE compatible in Australia. The reality is that it's not 4G compatible, it's AT&T compatible).

Re:a little understated (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264769)

Australia has 4G; quite an extensive LTE network in fact and one that can be used with most new Android phones, it's just that we don't yet use the frequencies that only the USA uses and that Apple solely targeted. Europe is in the same boat, they have 4G but don't use the USA frequencies.

Apple clearly said "* You can have 4G if you are in America" however the * statements that would be allowed in America are not allowed here. Disclaimers in Australia cannot, under law, substantially change the headline of an advertisement. That is, you can't say 4G Capable in the headline then disclaim it as "Only in America" in the Australian market.

I'm surprised Apple didn't use an LTE chip with a larger number of bands. Restricting it to AT&T frequencies seems counter-productive.

Re:a little understated (2)

stephanruby (542433) | about 2 years ago | (#40266405)

Restricting it to AT&T frequencies seems counter-productive.

No, that's not the problem. Even if they had the same AT&T bands in Australia, they'd still be skating on thin ice [cultofmac.com].

The real problem is our US consumer watchdog agencies. They simply don't care anymore. If they did care, there would be a minimum font size for disclaimers shown on television (that I currently can't even read on my huge television), and the carriers wouldn't call their services "unlimited" (and Sprint, which calls all the other major carriers liars, wouldn't have a bs "data premium" fee itself tacked on top of its existing advertised rates for its so-called "unlimited data plans").

Personally, I am not a Apple fanboy, not in the least, but I wouldn't blame Apple for this. If you want to blame someone, blame the US advertising environment the Apple executives are coming from. Advertising in the US has become a race to the bottom. Since almost every large US company is lying in their ads to consumers, and most of those companies are getting away with those lies, the only companies that are getting hurt in the marketplace are the ones that are not lying enough (or that don't have a large enough advertising budget compared to their competitors).

Re:a little understated (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 2 years ago | (#40266625)

a minimum font size for disclaimers shown on television

I worked for a company which ran a 1900 service (in aus that means you pay with your phone bill). The law said we had to put disclaimers in 4 point type when we advertised on big roadside signs. We used a bigger font for our disclaimers.

Re:a little understated (1)

Splab (574204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266975)

I feel for you.

In Denmark a telecom was recently fined for showing too small a disclaimer text.

(We also have same rules as Australia wrt 4G)

Re:a little understated (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264941)

Incorrect. LTE 4G is available but on the 1800mhz frequency which the phone does not operate on. When the analog television band is auctioned (next year I believe) our carriers will have the ability to use the lower frequencies that are more common globally.

Re:a little understated (1)

jamesh (87723) | about 2 years ago | (#40265317)

Telstra has rolled out 4G in Bendigo (central Victoria) and the Samsumg Galaxy S2 4G works on it just fine. I don't know whether it's a coincidence but 3G has been pretty much useless since they started rolling out 4G. Can't even load a web page a lot of the time.

Mod parent uninformed (2)

mjwx (966435) | about 2 years ago | (#40266003)

They sort of buried the lead a bit phrasing it that way. The last I heard, there are zero 4G towers in the entirety of Australia. Yeah, none.

You're woefully misinformed.

The US describes HSPA+ as 4G (in reality it's a 3.5 G technology) we've had that since 2008, in fact we were the first country to have a commercial HSPA+ service.

We've had commercial WIMAX networks since 2009.

All three network operators are deploying LTE as we speak. One telco, Telstra has an active commercial LTE network. In fact this is where the law suit makes a lot of sense, the Ipad does not operate on the same frequency as the LTE networks in Australia so it's limited to 3G technologies (no, Australia does not consider HSPA+ to be "4G"), Apple knew this and falsely advertised the feature deliberately.
 

AT&T made a similar mistake... (1)

LostCluster2.0 (2637341) | about 2 years ago | (#40264623)

AT&T Mobility made the same error in some online ads on their site because the computer programming adding the 4G logo saw the 4 in "iPhone 4" and assumed that meant 4G mistakenly.

http://benmuha-herbal.blogspot.com/ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264655)

amazing., hehe

Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sense (-1)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40264777)

Perhaps Apple could have been clearer about the deficiencies of Austrailian cellular data networks, but the definition of 4G [wikipedia.org] is not a moving target. It is what it is everywhere regardless of whether local networks are compatible. Even if there were no cellular data networks on the earth, the technology in the 4G iPad would still be, by definition, 4G. It matters not whether the 4G network in AU is incompatible with the 4G iPad... this does not magically make a physical device that is 4G in Canada no longer 4G when it is moved into Australia. It only means what it always means, that some 4G devices are not compatible with some 4G networks.

Then again, if a small fine will get silly unmindful consumers off Apple's back, it is a small price for them to pay.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40264845)

We have 4G LTE, they sell and advertise the product as 4G but it will never run on a 4G network in this country.

As far as it being a slap on the wrist, the judge seems to agree and has suggested that numbers need to be provided so that he can make the fine meaningful for apple.

BTW Consumer protection laws, don't you guys try to stop snake oil salespeople on your side of the ditch, or do you prefer to just let them roll with it?

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (-1)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40265377)

We have 4G LTE, they sell and advertise the product as 4G but it will never run on a 4G network in this country.

So what? My point is that 4G is 4G, regardless of the incompatibility of hardware and networks.

As far as it being a slap on the wrist, the judge seems to agree and has suggested that numbers need to be provided so that he can make the fine meaningful for apple.

Again... 4G is 4G no matter what that judge thinks... he doesn't decide technological international standards

BTW Consumer protection laws, don't you guys try to stop snake oil salespeople on your side of the ditch, or do you prefer to just let them roll with it?

wtf.... ok, I concede... there's a 4G standards technological definition for the rest of the world, then there's 4G just for AU, where by as defined in Australia, only the AU networks are 4G... do you guys have your own math as well?

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (4, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#40265461)

Actually you have it backwards. There is a 4G standard definition for the rest of the world, then there is the US/Canada. Australia is not the odd one out here.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266087)

Actually you have it backwards. There is a 4G standard definition for the rest of the world, then there is the US/Canada. Australia is not the odd one out here.

If you read what the standard defines you'd know that its talking about data rates. It doesn't say a whit about interoperability with local networks. As far as I know, Australian consumers are the only ones with their knickers in a bunch because the international standards organization correctly left out any mention of network compatibility, becuase had they attempted to include it with so many various proticols, then the standard could never be standard, it would be an arbitrary definition based on incidental local circumstance.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#40266181)

There are a set of acknowledged frequencies the majority of the world uses for 4g, apple DOESN'T work with them. They are not just in trouble in Australia for this, they are having legal and regulatory trouble all over the world for it. Australia has just been more direct by prosectuing them for misleading advertising, and rightly so.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266875)

There are a set of acknowledged frequencies the majority of the world uses for 4g, apple DOESN'T work with them. They are not just in trouble in Australia for this, they are having legal and regulatory trouble all over the world for it. Australia has just been more direct by prosectuing them for misleading advertising, and rightly so.

This has nothing to do with whether or not hardware is 4G as defined by an international standards body. Apple's advertising is consistent world-wide. Apple is not preying upon unsuspecting consumers. It is nothing less than irrational paranoia to suggest this. Apple's advertisements included notice that the networks in AU were incompatible with the 4G components within the 4G iPad. When consumers complained, Apple made their notice even more obvious.

All this grievance amounts to is that the rest of the world is pissed off that an American company developed hardware that is compatible with American networks. The entire argument is ridiculous, and easily solved: don't buy it. But attempting to redefine an international standard to conveniently cast dispersion on Apple is complete anathema.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (2)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#40267047)

Apple Advertises it as a 4G Ipad. In Australia your advertising cannot be MISLEADING. Australia has 4G networks therefore according to the laws if a person could be mislead into believing that the ipad 4G access will work in Australia then they are breaking the laws. This is not about international standards or any of that bullshit, it is purely about consumer protection. If you advertise in Australia your product does X then it bloody well better do X in Australia, not in some foreign country. If Apple don't want to change there advertising then they should live with the consequences of their actions as they have blatantly broken the law even though they were warned BEFORE the ipad was released that they would need to change their advertising.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40266425)

If you read what the standard defines you'd know that its talking about data rates. It doesn't say a whit about interoperability with local networks.

If it's not interoperable with local networks what will the data rate be?

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266893)

If you read what the standard defines you'd know that its talking about data rates. It doesn't say a whit about interoperability with local networks.

If it's not interoperable with local networks what will the data rate be?

Again, this is a misinterpretation of what 4G is defined as. 4G is defined as a maximum possible data rate, given by the international standards body. It is possible for the 4G iPad to achieve these rates as that's what the hardware is capable of. Even if Australia had no cellular ability whatsoever, data, voice, 2G, 3G or any identifiable network whatsoever, this would still not change the simple fact that the hardware is capable of achieving those speeds.

Why is this so difficult to understand? Another poster used a wonderful metaphor: If in the US, I purchased an electronic drill that was only compatible with the European electrical grid, and not compatible with the electric grid in the US, no one would attempt to claim that the device, magically, was no longer and electric device. It is still an electric drill, even if it won't work in the the US. It is merely incompatible with grid. The same is true of the 4G iPad in Australia... it is still 4G, irregardless of the incompatibility with the network. Further, Apple made this clear... and then changed their advertising to make it even clearer. It's a simple thing, and simply solved: buy another brand in Australia that is compatible with the 4G networks.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#40266855)

because the international standards organization correctly left out any mention of network compatibility, becuase had they attempted to include it with so many various proticols, then the standard could never be standard

You're correct that the definition of 4G is based on peak data rates (100Mbps for moving devices, 1Gbps for static devices).

However, I'm not sure how you can say that they "correctly" didn't include compatibility so that they could standardise it. What's actually the point in a standard if it doesn't guarantee some kind of compatibility? In a global economy (which we are in, even if the phone vendors seem to think that its a good idea to restrict particular models of phone to particular countries), you should be able to buy a device advertised as "4G" and have it work on any network advertised as "4G" - this is the whole point of standards. This is what we have with other standards - 802.11g is 802.11g the world over (ok, there are some minor differences in frequencies at the top and bottom ends of the band, but generally you can buy an 802.11g device anywhere in the world and have it work on an 802.11g network anywhere else in the world).

At the moment you can buy a device labelled as "4G" and find that it doesn't even work on half the 4G networks in the country you bought it from, let alone anywhere else in the world (because LTE and WiMax seem to be being rolled out in parallel, and most 4G devices only support one or the other). Whilst your average techie can research this and figure out what type of 4G he needs for his chosen network, the average consumer can't.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#40266409)

Again... 4G is 4G no matter what that judge thinks... he doesn't decide technological international standards

His function is to interpret and apply Australian law, which is precisely what he did.

Have you been skipping your meds again? You sound awfully like an aspie.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 2 years ago | (#40265441)

all apple iphone managers and bosses must dress up as chickens and repeatedly attempt crossing the road. a busy road. almost anything near cupertino qualifies.

(and not only will apple feel a sense of punishment, we may actually find the answer to that age old riddle!)

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (2)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#40264877)

Just because they're technically right doesn't mean it isn't misleading advertising, which is what they were fined for.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (-1)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40265389)

Just because they're technically right doesn't mean it isn't misleading advertising, which is what they were fined for.

The advertising matched the advertising everywhere. To say Apple intentionally deceived the AU market is absurd.... Apple even used a disclaimer explaining that the hardware may not be compatible with all worldwide networks... which AU consumers chose to ignore. They deceived themselves.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

toriver (11308) | about 2 years ago | (#40266679)

And Apple had to change their advertising in many countries as a result of the incompatibility. Of course it is deceiving to use 4G in your marketing in countries where it does not offer that capability. If I tried to sell a goose and wrote LAYS GOLDEN EGGS! with a smaller disclaimer of "may not actually lay golden eggs" underneath, that would also be misleading.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (2)

icebraining (1313345) | about 2 years ago | (#40266761)

Yes, it did match the advertising everywhere, that's why they're being investigated in other countries too.

In Australia, it's misleading, period. Whether Apple did it "intentionally" or by gross incompetence is irrelevant.

And a reasonable person would consider that a disclaimer saying it may not be compatible "with all worldwide networks" would apply in case they traveled abroad, because it'd absurd - or, as in this case, illegal - to make a campaign advertising a feature that doesn't work.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (2)

drsmithy (35869) | about 2 years ago | (#40266887)

And here we see the deception of the Libertarian viewpoint distilled. It's ok to defraud your customers, so long as whatever you're saying can be considered true somewhere in the world.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266901)

Frankly, I think it's time Apple completely ignored the AU market. They should do what Google did in China.... leave. If you want Apple to specifically design and make a device that is compatible with AU 4G networks, this is just about the worst way to convince them. You'll catch more flies with honey.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

drsmithy (35869) | about 2 years ago | (#40267005)

Frankly, I think it's time Apple completely ignored the AU market. They should do what Google did in China.... leave. If you want Apple to specifically design and make a device that is compatible with AU 4G networks, this is just about the worst way to convince them. You'll catch more flies with honey.

The point being missed here (other than the whole blatant lying part) is that "4G networks in Australia" and "4G networks in parts of the world that aren't the USA" are synonymous.

The USA is a big market, to be sure, but it's not as big as the rest of the world. The rest of the world all uses the same mobile phone networks, which are different to America's. On top of that, the rest of the world generally has actual consumer protection laws, unlike America. You lie about "4G" to Australia, you lie about "4G" to the rest of the world.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#40264917)

Actually no 4g networks or devices exist on earth. And the article you linked substantiates that. So not only is AU right in this instance to slap down Apple, their next step should be to slap down all the idiots currently advertising 4g service in australia but not delivering it.

Of course, that's where it breaks down. Giving fanbois a consolation prize. You can always defend Apple by attacking everyone else in the market.

Long Term Evolution == 4G Lite (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 years ago | (#40265043)

Actually no 4g networks or devices exist on earth.

But at least all the commercials for "4G Lite" are truthful, aren't they? ;-)

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40265215)

Actually no 4g networks or devices exist on earth.

Of course, that's where it breaks down. Giving fanbois a consolation prize. You can always defend Apple by attacking everyone else in the market.

http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/coverage-networks/network-information/4g/

http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/coverage-networks/our-coverage/mobile-broadband/

That you do not have it, does not mean that others do not have it, atm though you are right it is only in capital cities [where the majority of our population lives] and some major regional centers.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

Arker (91948) | about 2 years ago | (#40265333)

No, moron, those arent 4g. Read the fine print. 1gb/s for low mobility users? Not even close.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40265413)

Actually no 4g networks or devices exist on earth. And the article you linked substantiates that.

I'm not sure that it does. Citation?

So not only is AU right in this instance to slap down Apple,

Your logic is way screwed up... again, the 4G iPad meets the specifications for 4G hardware, thus, it is 4G hardware, irregardless of the fact that, as claimed, no network on Earth can supply data to it at speeds that would define the networks as legitmately 4G. So, again, the hardware IS 4G, but the networks are not. No where in the definition of 4G does it say that if the network is not 4G that it magically physically degrades the hardware to no longer be 4G. It is still 4G hardware, and once the networks are upgrades, will perform as such.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 2 years ago | (#40266873)

Your logic is way screwed up... again, the 4G iPad meets the specifications for 4G hardware, thus, it is 4G hardware,

Can it manage 1Gbps? No? Then it isn't 4G

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#40264965)

It's a 4G device that's not compatible with the 4G network in AU. The physical device will not work at 4G in AU, even if it does in Canada. Read your own link. 4G is defined for networks only, not devices. It isn't a 4G device unless it's carrier equipment. User devices can be 4G compatible, but it's the network, not the device, that defines 4G. And iPad can't use 4G in AU, yet is being advertised as such. That's a lie.

And yes, it is a moving target. 4G has changed greatly from when it was first used. Yes, the ITU never changed it's oficial definition, but took what, 10 years from the first use of the term until they approved a definition? And they don't define any interoperability, so "4G" is locally defined for devices, as an international standard is useless for defining interoperability (And the ITU definition doesn't concern interoperability anyway) if every country uses unique frequencies and the device doesn't use the local frequencies.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (-1)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266041)

It's a 4G device that's not compatible with the 4G network in AU.

I grant you that... and Apple specified this possibility in its advertising.

The physical device will not work at 4G in AU, even if it does in Canada.

So what? I can't see Polaris from a telescope in Australia... does that mean it's not a star and not a telescope?

Read your own link. 4G is defined for networks only, not devices. It isn't a 4G device unless it's carrier equipment. User devices can be 4G compatible, but it's the network, not the device, that defines 4G.

Of course I read it, and it doesn't say this at all, implicity nor explicitly. And you are merely playing with language using this "4G compatible" nonsense. A network can also be "4G compatible," as well as a device can be a 4G device.

In March 2008, the International Telecommunications Union-Radio communications sector (ITU-R) specified a set of requirements for 4G standards, named the International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (IMT-Advanced) specification, setting peak speed requirements for 4G service at 100megabits per second (Mbit/s) for high mobility communication (such as from trains and cars) and 1gigabit per second (Gbit/s) for low mobility communication (such as pedestrians and stationary users)

What you suggest just isn't true. Its not defining networks, per se, its talking specifically about data rates. If a network is capable of these data rates, then it is by definition, 4G. The same is true of 4G devices... in order to be considered 4G devices, they are not defined arbitrarily as being able to connect to a local network that may respect one or more aspects of 4G, they are defined as devices that are capable of the data rates specified. If you read down a bit further, you'll see:

Since 4G is a collection of wireless standards, the final form of a 4G device will constitute various standards.

And iPad can't use 4G in AU, yet is being advertised as such. That's a lie.

It is not logically impossible for the 4G iPad to achieve 4G data rates in the AU. Should the networks there be refitted or upgraded, the 4G iPad will indeed achieve those rates if the 4G technologies they employ are compatible.

And yes, it is a moving target. 4G has changed greatly from when it was first used.

No, you are incorrect. It is a standard. As far as I know, only marketing folk have incorrectly used the 4G term here in the US to say their devices were using a faster data rate, even though they didn't actually meet the defined standard of 4G. This kind of marketing is deceptive. Apple did not use these kinds of tactics. The 4G iPad is 4G hardware. Period.

Yes, the ITU never changed it's oficial definition, but took what, 10 years from the first use of the term until they approved a definition?

Again, so what?

And they don't define any interoperability,

PRECISELY, they do not. Because if they did this then it could never be a standard... if they did this, the definition of 4G would be arbitrarily based on local circumstance. But it IS a standard, and thus NOT based on local circumstance.

so "4G" is locally defined for devices, as an international standard is useless for defining interoperability (And the ITU definition doesn't concern interoperability anyway) if every country uses unique frequencies and the device doesn't use the local frequencies.

So because you don't like the standard, because it leaves out any regard to compatibility or interoperability, you just want to redefine the internationally agreed upon standard to include compatibility... just locally in AU. I can see how useful that would be. On this side of the Pacific, we prefer our standards to actually be, you know, standard [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 years ago | (#40266647)

I can't see Polaris from a telescope in Australia... does that mean it's not a star and not a telescope?

"Buy the Australia iTelescope, the best for viewing Polaris"

Never mind. I had comments on your deliberate obtuseness, but didn't recognize it as deliberate until I started responding. The network is 4G, like a star is a star. If the telescope isn't a telescope, that has no effect on whether the star is a star. Austarlia has 4G. Many devices use it. the iPad can not operate in Australia as 4G, despite claiming it does 4G. They are making an untrue marketing claim. It is *not* 4G capable in Australia.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266939)

They are making an untrue marketing claim.

...as they have since the dawn of their existence: The Apple ][ was not a fruit and the Macintosh was not either! The Apple Airport is not anything like a landing strip for planes! A mouse is an input device, not a small rodent! Shall we levy a fine against the publishers of The Australian because it is an untrue marketing claim that a periodical is a citizen of Australia? I don't see any AU lawsuits against any manufacturers of Android phones, even though it is quite obvious that a cell phone is nothing like a robot... haven't seen any that can do anything a robot can do. Or can we allow private companies to name their product whatever they want... it is, after all, their product.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (4, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | about 2 years ago | (#40265115)

This is a consumer protection organisation. They don't give a fuck about your pedantic nitpicking. Australia has 4G* LTE networks. The iPad was advertised as supporting 4G* LTE networks. The iPad did not support Australia's 4G* LTE networks. Ergo, the iPad did not support 4G* LTE networks. End of story. The CONSUMER protection organisation should not have to give a fuck about whether it supports 4G* LTE somewhere else, the question is, could the advertising be expected to give a consumer a reasonable belief that it would work with their 4G* LTE service. The answer is yes, so Apple broke the law. That you believe this is somehow OK for Apple to market in such a misleading way is telling of how little your government protects your consumers, and how brainwashed your consumers are by your corporations.

* Whether LTE is actually 4G is not addressed by this post, and is beside this point for the purposes of this discussion.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

joocemann (1273720) | about 2 years ago | (#40265231)

You should be one of those scumbag corporate lawyers if you aren't already. You've got the twisting of words, expanding of grey area, and the deniability of intent down pat!

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (1)

ixuzus (2418046) | about 2 years ago | (#40265319)

So.. Apple makes a device in the full knowledge that it will not function on compliant 4G networks outside North America and you want them to be clearer about the deficiencies of others? Apple apologist much? The most glaring deficiencies for Apple are found in the mirror.

Just for purposes of comparison would you be okay with a company advertising and selling cordless power tools in the US with the fact that the included charger is 230V only mentioned in the fine print? It works fine with mains electricity. The fact that it doesn't work with YOUR mains power is of little consequence to them and not their problem.

Re:Wow, AU... just when I though you guys made sen (0)

catmistake (814204) | about 2 years ago | (#40266075)

So.. Apple makes a device in the full knowledge that it will not function on compliant 4G networks outside North America and you want them to be clearer about the deficiencies of others? Apple apologist much? The most glaring deficiencies for Apple are found in the mirror.

FINALLY!!! Thank you for calling me out on that. That bit, of course, was a troll. Congratulations... you have an IQ over potato. I can't say as much for the authors of the other responses to my post.

Just for purposes of comparison would you be okay with a company advertising and selling cordless power tools in the US with the fact that the included charger is 230V only mentioned in the fine print? It works fine with mains electricity. The fact that it doesn't work with YOUR mains power is of little consequence to them and not their problem.

Exactly. This is what the issue is. This happens all the time, FWIW, but we don't try to say that the device in question isn't electric merely because it is incompatible with our electric grid. We merely say that it is incompatible. We certainly don't try to redefine international standards to match our local circumstances.

HSPDA+? (0)

etresoft (698962) | about 2 years ago | (#40264957)

This is just the typical "Apple effect". Apple uses industry standard marketing tactics and gets in trouble. Everyone conveniently fails to notice that that the "non-4G" iPad3 is 6 times faster than the old iPad. Any other company would have gotten away with marketing just that as 4G even without LTE.

Risky buisness (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40265017)

In Australia we don't take to kindly to snake oil salesmen, it is why we have institutions like the ACCC.

Next we will be coming for their profits that they are shuffling off overseas to avoid taxation, the public discontent is growing with both Google and Apple about this, and the more they mess around and make themselves targets with things like this and trying to get injunctions against the galaxy S3, the closer they come to turning the public against them.

Australia is not like the USA in regards to loving/respecting companies ripping off the system.

Countersuit in 3...2...1.... (1)

Random Data (538955) | about 2 years ago | (#40265537)

I'm now waiting for Apple to turn around and countersue Telstra for making a 4G network that is not compliant with the capabilities of the Ipad. Clearly Telstra are advertising a 4G service that isn't compatible with a 4G device, which is misleading!

4G not everywhere anyway.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40265591)

I bought a 4G phone and they dont have 4G service in my city..OMG 1,2,4 sue!

Re:4G not everywhere anyway.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40265893)

Apple aren't being sued. They are being regulated so that they don't try to deliberately deceive people. Living in the US you might not understand what government regulation is. Though you do have that phrase "by the people for the people", maybe that's just ancient history now.

Re:4G not everywhere anyway.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40266945)

Living in the US you might not understand what government regulation is. Though you do have that phrase "by the people for the people", maybe that's just ancient history now.

You forget that in the US corporations are people too...

advertising (0)

pbjones (315127) | about 2 years ago | (#40265809)

a couple of issues, The iPad is 4G, it's just that there is limited access to 4G is Oz (soon to change). So when suitable 4G is available, does Apple get it's money back? Offering an exchange or refund would have satisfied most Consumer laws, so I suggest that because Apple is a big company that it was treated differently to, say, Telstra, who also shouts about 4G but it's only in the fine print that you are told that 4G is only available in small areas. I know that there is a difference, but buyers should beware,and copywriters should be aware of local conditions. Apple got extra time in the media, it's no big deal.

Patent Troll Apple can get stuffed (0)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40265951)

Patent troll Apple can get stuffed. This is what judge Posner is really saying. How about getting back to product design now, and leave the rest of us alone.

Re:Patent Troll Apple can get stuffed (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#40266951)

Apple corporate spinmods hate it when somebody calls patent troll Apple a patent troll. Hey, maybe instead of sending out your minions to troll social geek sites you should stop patent trolling, that is a much better way to stop being called a patent troll. Sending out your minions just makes me more critical, why should you be surprised.

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