MELBOURNE – A Federal Court judge has called for information about the finances of Apple Australia after the company agreed to an Australian Competition And Consumer Commission demand that it pay a $2.25 million penalty for calling its latest iPads “4G”, even though they could not operate on Australian 4G networks.
The ACCC had claimed that Apple used the claim of “4G” to describe iPads that were able to connect to the fastest mobile networks, even though the 4G frequencies that the iPad uses don’t work on current Australian long-term evolution (LTE) 4G networks.
Apple and the ACCC agreed in a Melbourne courtroom on Friday that the fine would represent a fitting reprimand for Apple labelling its devices as “Wi-Fi + 4G”.
That wasn’t quite enough information for Justice Mordecai Bromberg, however, who said, there were three matters on which he would like more information to help him decide if the proposed penalty was appropriate.
Those matters were: the financial position of Apple; the number of sales of its new iPad; and the differences between Telstra’s 3G network and the 4G network.
Apple’s representative, Alan Archibald, had said it didn’t matter how many iPads had been sold, because Apple had offered full refunds to any customers who felt cheated.
The judge withheld his verdict, saying it was not possible to assess whether the penalty was meaningful to Apple without information about how much money the company was making.
He asked the parties to provide the information on a confidential basis by Wednesday.[Most of the requested information is in fact already publicly available.
If the judge was referring to the US parent company, which is Nasdaq-listed, the information is readily available online – Apple made a net profit of US$11 billion on revenue of $39 billion in its latest quarter.
If on the other hand he meant Apple Australia, an annual figure has already been supplied to ASIC – A$95 million on revenue of $4.87 billion in 2011 (CDN, Feb. 1). – Ed.]