Saturday04 February 2023

Apple’s One More Thing for Yesterday was A Ban on Some iPhones and iPads

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At almost every Apple event there was a big reveal at the end. This was typically preceded by Steve Jobs making saying “just one more thing”. Well Apple had an interesting day yesterday and in keeping with their pattern there is “just one more thing”. On top of the mountain of evidence that Apple coordinated the eBook price fixing deal with five publishers and the news that Apple iOS devices are susceptible to malware via their charging systems we are also hearing that Samsung has won a product ban against some Apple products from the International Trade Commission.

The product ban is limited in its scope so it is not going to exactly kill Apple’s chances to sell iPhones in the US, but the ban is going to hurt them. The ban is permanent and immediate although Apple does have the chance to appeal the decision if they chose. The products in question are not likely to do massive damage to Apple sales, but they are significant. Apple can no longer import the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2 as built to work on AT&T’s network. Sounds pretty simple and not a big deal for Apple who might retire these models in a few months when they launch the next generation iPhone and iPad.

On the other side it shows that Apple is vulnerable to patent suits themselves and that they are also susceptible to having their products banned from import into the US. This is a tactic they have attempted to use on other companies as a form of competition. Victories like these are costly to Apple in more ways than losing sales. It undermines investor confidence and also erodes public opinion of Apple as an innovator. After all Apple has made comments that they are tired of being the inventor for the world, so why were they found to have used someone else’s technology in those same products?

There is a potential bright side for Apple though President Obama can still overturn the ITC’s decision. He has already stated that he does not like broad product bans so there is potential that he might. On the downside Apple is under investigation for hiding tax money, price fixing of eBooks and has repeatedly refused to bring manufacturing of their devices to the US. This might factor into any executive decisions that will be made. If Apple’s phones and products were made in the US, well then there would be no ban from the ITC. We can see how this might give the US some leverage over Apple to perhaps bring some jobs and money back home. Time will tell, but no matter what the final outcome this will still have an impact on Apple with both investors and consumers.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 05 June 2013 15:00

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