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.


Oil prices rise but still set for third weekly drop on oversupply, US-China trade dispute

Updated 9 min 16 sec ago
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Oil prices rise but still set for third weekly drop on oversupply, US-China trade dispute

TOKYO: Crude prices rose on Friday but were set to drop for the week as concerns about oversupply and lower demand due to a possible economic slowdown caused by the trade conflict between the United States and China, the world’s two biggest oil users.
Brent oil rose 7 cents to $72.65 a barrel by 0354 GMT, after rising to $73.04 earlier in the day.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was up 14 cents at $69.60 a barrel, after reaching a high of $70.03 earlier.
However, both benchmarks are on track for their third weekly loss, after big declines on Monday, with Brent set to drop 3.6 percent and WTI to fall by 2 percent.
Prices have been dragged down by concerns about oversupply as some production returned after outages, while trade tensions between the US and China stoked fears of damage to their economies and commodities demand.
Saudi Arabia had moved on Thursday to allay fears of oversupply, which had supported prices.
But concerns about US and China are coming to fore again as China’s currency falls, said Stephen Innes, head of trading APAC at OANDA brokerage.
“Risk sentiment is wobbling, which I believe is attributed to PBOC pushing the RMB complex lower via the fix,” Innes said. “Markets are now nervous, not only about a trade war, but also a currency war.”
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on Friday lowered its mid-point for the yuan for the seventh straight trading day to the lowest in a year.
With China showing little signs of arresting its currency’s depreciation, the yuan promptly retreated to a near 13-month low.
Lower oil demand in the United States and China caused by an economic slowdown from their trade war would have oversized impacts on the market.
The US accounted for 20.2 percent of global oil demand in 2017 while China consumed 13 percent of the world’s oil last year, according to the BP Statistical Review of Energy.
There was some support for prices based on comments from Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, that it would cut crude shipments.
The country expects exports to drop by roughly 100,000 barrels per day in August as it works to ensure it does not push oil into the market beyond customers’ needs, the kingdom’s Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Governor Adeeb Al-Aama said.
“Despite the international oil markets being well balanced in the third quarter, there will still be substantial stock draws due to robust demand and seasonality factors in the second half,” Al-Aama said in a statement.
He also said concerns that Saudi Arabia and its partners are moving to substantially oversupply the market are “without basis.”