Australian judge questions $2.25 million Apple fine over iPad ‘4G’ marketing

“The competition watchdog is seeking a $2.25 million fine against Apple for selling its new iPad as ‘Wi-Fi + 4G’ when the device did not work on any existing Australian 4G networks,” Lucy Battersby reports for The Age.

“Justice Bromberg told the parties he was unhappy with the lack of information provided to the court about Apple’s financial position, the number of iPads that had been sold using the ‘Wi-Fi + 4G’ name and how many had been returned, and the difference between how the iPads would work on a 3G or 4G network,” Battersby reports. “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 refunds, so there was no loss to customers. ‘What conceivable damage might there be?’ he said. ‘This is a case of absence of loss … whatever the level of sales, there cannot be loss because anybody concerned about it could reverse the acquisition.'”

“Mr Archibald argued that the $2.25 million fine should be reduced because of the absence of any loss to consumers,” Battersby reports. “Apple agreed to provide Justice Bromberg with confidential information about its financial position and the number of devices sold to allow him to judge whether the proposed penalty was appropriate.”

Read more in the full article here.

Related articles:
Apple changes name of ‘iPad WiFi + 4G’ to ‘iPad WiFi + Cellular’ in many countries – May 12, 2012
Apple seeks to redefine Australia’s 3G networks as ’4G’ – April 19, 2012
Apple and Australian watchdog mediation over iPad ’4G’ fails – April 16, 2012
Apple updates Australian store to further clarify 4G abilities of new iPad – March 30, 2012
Sweden looking into complaints over Apple marketing iPad as ’4G’ (incompatible networks in Sweden) – March 29, 2012
Apple offers full refunds, corrective signs over ’4G’ iPads in Australia – March 28, 2012
Australian watchdog to seek orders against Apple for alleged ‘misleading’ iPad 4G claims – March 27, 2012

25 Comments

  1. A judge desperate for his fifteen minutes of fame by taking a stand on a non-issue. A very sad use of public funds and time of the courts, apparently having nothing more important to handle in its’ role as “competition watchdog.” It would be interesting to see how many iPads were returned and hear the stories of how damaged those people were who returned their units, and how pleased Justice Bromberg can be with himself for disregarding the essence of the ITU and letting it be known that justice, for him, is not unlike the wild and wooly Texas, where international standards be damned, we do it our way.

    1. You seem to be confused, The judge is not the “competition watchdog” , that’s the ACCC. The judge is adjudicating between the ACCC and Apple. The fine is that recommended by the ACCC.

  2. There is nothing fair about going after someone with a larger fine, just because you think they can afford it. $2M for burning yourself with spilt coffee from McDonald’s…

    1. The fines are intended to make companies think about what they do or say. A small fine for a wealthy company wouldn’t make it think. Which would make you think, a 50c fine or a $2000 fine.

    2. If you’re going to refer to a case, know the facts about it.

      That old lady didn’t spill coffee on herself… The cup melted as a result of McDonalds brewing coffee at a higher temperature than the maximum temperature rating of the cups being used.

      McDonalds was found to have knowingly used inferior cups for their coffee as a means of saving money.

    1. Thats what I think is interesting. No one is saying its not a 4G device. Just not the same 4G used by Australian telcos.

      Couldn’t you equally argue the Australian telcos aren’t offering a “4G” service?

      1. This is true… The advertised speeds for the WiMAX service offered by vivid wireless is slower then the hspa+ speeds I get in Canada – 20-25Mbs or in rare occasions even faster. In some arenas people lump hspa+ into the 4G camp anyway.

        A1 and Orange customers could be getting these increased speeds in Australia with the New iPad that were not supported by any previous Apple device.

        As far as hspa+ goes, ITU recognizes it as 4G and that is the official source of telco definitions.

        Australia is acting weird on this one.

        http://www.tmonews.com/2010/12/hspa-now-officially-4g-according-to-itu/

  3. A win-win for all but they still need the money?

    I can’t ever remember a time when australians have ever been so hard up, that they have to resort to systemic judicial procedures to bilk money out of foreign businesses.

    If I did that, it would be extortion, but when australians do it, it’s called justice.

      1. More British convicts were transported to the U.S. than anywhere else combined. Most of them became rebels and so war and rebellion is deep in the U.S. psyche. That’s why many of you feel the need to arm yourself just going to school or shopping.
        Mostly it is only the police and criminals that have guns in Australia.

    1. The defendant in this case is Apple Australia. And the court in this case is applying law as it is written. The penalty is a fine. Apple advertised something they didn’t deliver, either deliberately or, more likely, because the marketing dudes stuffed up through ignorance. Either way, clearly false advertising.

      1. In this case it’s not “false” advertising. The device really is capable of 4G performance. It’s just that the telcos in that country haven’t implemented the same 4G technology as the iPad.

        Its a bit like punishing the manufacturer of an AM/FM radio because the country you’re selling it in has no FM radio stations.

        Sure YOU can’t get FM, but it’s still an FM radio.

      2. Whew! What a relief to find out it’s not Apple America.

        Imagine how much more rewarding their experience could be if the courts would insist Apple list every feature and capability in its advertising?

        The advertising should also include enhanced features and capabilities when devices are combined with other Apple products, so that the Australians will know what they’re missing!

  4. If the 4G labelling wasn’t proof of Apple’s US-centric mindset, the replacement “Cellular” labelling puts it beyond doubt. (Here in Oz we say “mobile”)

  5. Oh fuck off you stupid Aussie. The fact that it delivers faster than 4G is lost on you. As is the fact that it clearly said on the box that 4G in Canada and US was supported…not Australia…is also lost on you. The fact that no one returned it….is lost on you. The fact that you don’t have to buy it if after reading the writing on the box is lost on you. So I am not surprised that cellular (as all people in the world know is same as mobil) is also lost on you.

    I just wish Apple would stop selling all products in Australia. Clearly they are not ready for them yet.

    1. Why the need to be so offensive to Australians in general? They clearly love Apple products, and buy them in large numbers.

      The fine, if any, is only $2 million. This is clearly a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of sales Apple generates in Australia.

      If you have nothing intelligent to say, just shut your goddamn stupid mouth. Nobody wants to hear your fucking stupidity spewed all over the place.

      1. why don’t You shut your godam stupid mouth! That includes your Appleseed too. BTW, it may not be 2m, after that stupid fuck of an Aussie judge decides that the “appropriate” fine for a company rolling in billions should be a billion or two. Setting that precedence for Germany, other Europeon countries, New Zealand and god knows who else.

  6. Telstra FakeG is implemented as LTE-Basic (not LTE-Advanced) because that is all the Ericsson retards who supply Telstra’s equipment had on offer (Telstra are locked in). Telstra FakeG operates on a non standard frequency because that was the spectrum Telstra already owned. The end result is a network that is not 4G, does not operate on a standard frequency, and requires custom handsets to be manufactured for it to work. Telstra’s network is wrong on so many levels which is hardly Apple’s fault.

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