Australian court fines Apple $6.7 million over iPhone ‘bricking’ case

Apple’s most expensive smartphone, the iPhone X, was also its most fragile, with the screen, Face ID and glass back vulnerable to cracking if dropped, according to industry experts. (Reuters)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Australian court fines Apple $6.7 million over iPhone ‘bricking’ case

SYDNEY: An Australian court fined US electronics giant Apple Inc. A$9 million ($6.7 million) on Tuesday after a regulator accused it of using a software update to disable iPhones which had cracked screens fixed by third parties.
The Australian Competitor and Consumer Commission (ACCC) sued the world’s biggest company by market value for “bricking” — or using a software update to disable — hundreds of smartphones and tablet devices, then refusing to unlock them if the devices had been serviced by non-Apple repairers.
On Tuesday the Australian Federal Court found in the regulator’s favor, saying Apple had breached the country’s consumer law by telling some 275 customers they were not eligible for a remedy if their device had been repaired by a third party.
“The mere fact that an iPhone or iPad had been repaired by someone other than Apple did not, and could not, result in the consumer guarantees ceasing to apply,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said in a statement.
“Global companies must ensure their returns policies are compliant with the Australian Consumer Law, or they will face ACCC action,” Court said.
An Apple spokeswoman said in an email the company had “very productive conversations with the ACCC about this” without commenting further on the court finding.
The ACCC said after it told Apple about its investigation, the US company sought to compensate customers whose devices were made inoperable by the software update, known as “error 53.” So far, Apple had contacted about 5,000 customers, the ACCC said.
Apple has also offered to improve staff training, information about warranties and consumer law on its website, and processes to ensure compliance, the ACCC said.


Mike Pompeo on China trade war: ‘We are going to win’

Updated 23 min 59 sec ago
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Mike Pompeo on China trade war: ‘We are going to win’

NEW YORK: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed that the United States would emerge victorious in an intensifying trade war with China, a day before Washington imposes $200 billion worth of tariffs.
“We are going to win it,” Pompeo said in an interview on Fox News broadcast Sunday.
“We’re going to get an outcome which forces China to behave in a way that if you want to be a power — a global power — transparency, rule of law, you don’t steal intellectual property,” he said.
Pompeo said that President Donald Trump “very much likes” his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping but said he would press policies that “the American workers deserve.”
Even before Trump’s election, the United States has complained vigorously that China has been unfair to US businesses and has stolen technology by forcing firms to reveal secrets as a condition to operate in the fast-growing Asian economy.
But Trump has taken an increasingly hard line on trade around the world, with $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese exports set to take effect on Monday.
China has retaliated by hitting $60 billion in US products and the world’s two largest economies have already imposed tariffs of $50 billion on each other.
In a first, the Trump administration has also punished a unit of China’s defense ministry for buying fighter jets and missiles from Russia in defiance of sanctions on Moscow.