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Commerce Commission's iPad 4G investigation gently winds down

UPDATE July 25: An investigation inot Apple's "4G" iPad marketing, which led to a $A2.5 million fine across the ditch, has gently wound down on this side of the Tasman.

A Commerce Commission spokeswoman told NBR, "We did assess the matter and have sent a compliance advice letter to the handful of NZ retailers who were making those 4G network claims. Since we contacted them, we note that these retailers have removed all references to 4G connectivity relating to Apple products from their websites and advertising materials."

The retailers were  Noel Leeming Group, Harvey Norman and Renaissance-owned Yoobee.

Apple had already removed "4G" references from its NZ website, replacing "Wi-Fi + 4G" with "Wi-Fi + Cellular.

"The Commission sees no need for any further action at this time," the spokeswoman said.


Australian court fines Apple $A2.5m for misleading iPad marketing

UPDATE June 22: The Australian Federal Court at Melbourne has formalised a $A2.5 million penalty for Apple over misleading iPad marketing claims.

Apple agreed to the fine on June 8 (see below) to settle an action brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over the use of the term "4G" in marketing for the company's latest tablet.

The company was also ordered to pay $A300,000 costs.

The Commerce Commission is still assessing whether to investigate a similar complaint on this side of the Tasman.

Apple's new iPad was marketed as "4G" when it was incompatible with Telstra's 4G network in Australia, and no 4G carrier option exists in New Zealand.

"Apple's desire for global uniformity was given a greater priority than the need to ensure compliance with the Australian consumer law," Justice Bromberg said.

"Conduct of that kind is serious and unacceptable."

Apple has now changed the way it is marketing the new iPad in Australia and New Zealand, with the mobile data-capable version now billed as Wi-Fi + Cellular.

Apple fined $A2.5m in Australia; ComCom assess NZ iPad complaint

June 8: In the wake of Apple agreeing to a $A2.5 million fine across the Tasman, The Commerce Commission says it has fielded a complaint over Apple's new iPad being market as "4G".

The brouhaha began when the new iPad was launched in March.

The two models of the new tablet were marketed worldwide as the iPad Wi-Fi and the iPad Wi-Fi + 4G.

Problem: the new tablet was incompatible with Telstra's 4G network in Australia ... and on this side of the ditch all our phone companies still use slower 3G networks.

On March 29, the  Australian Competition and Consumer Commission made an application to the Federal Court in Melbourne, asking for orders against Apple for alleged contraventions of the Australian Consumer Law, the watchdog said in a statement overnight.

Apple agreed to settle the action by paying a $A2.5 million fine.

Apple also said it would refund any customers who felt they had been cheated.

ACCC lawyer Colin Golvan SC told the Melbourne court the size of the penalty would serve as a warning to the technology industry that such behaviour would not be tolerated.

But given Apple is the world's most valuable company, with close to $US100 billion in cash, others were less sure the fine would scratch the surface.

Today, asked if it would take similar legal action, a spokeswoman for the Commerce Commission told NBR ONLINE it was watching events across the Tasman. There was no comment beyond that the watchdog is still "assessing information".

The commission is also still assessing whether to investigate a complaint about the 4G marketing. It will not say who laid the complaint.

More by Chris Keall

Comments and questions

it would be nice if Apple respected the NZ Consumer Guarantees Act in New Zealand and would repair by iPad affected by a hardware problem 13 months after I purchased it