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Apple halts unauthorized iPhone sales in Singapore

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By Charles Starrett

Contributing Editor
Published: Friday, December 7, 2007
News Categories: iPhone

Several retailers in the Sim Lim Square shopping center in Singapore, as well as some local online outlets, have ceased sales of unlocked iPhones following legal threats from Apple. According to The Straits Times, retailers in the area say that Apple threatened in an email to pursue legal action against them should they continue to sell illegally unlocked iPhones, which could make them liable for penalties of up to $1000 for each phone sold. “For a couple of tens of dollars, it’s not worth breaching the law for,” said one online retailer, who told the paper that the email was a factor in its decision to stop reselling the devices. Despite a check of 12 electronics and cellphone retailers in Sim Lim that saw not one openly offering the iPhone, a single store did indicate that the device could be “brought in” for interested customers.

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Comments

1

I am not a Singapore lawyer, but it is hard to imagine what laws were broken.  Perhaps the dealers violated their contract with Apple.  But considering that you can purchase a legally unlocked iPhone in France (and formerly in Germany), why couldn’t one resell one of those phones somewhere else in the world.

Posted by Greg on December 7, 2007 at 12:23 PM (PDT)

2

Greg,

Yes you can purchase an unlocked iPhone, but that’s a legally purchased unlocked phone, which would still be covered under Apple’s warranty.  There’s a difference between that, and some random non-authorized company selling tons of these unlocked phones, so yes there is a difference because the phones being sold in france are legally unlocked and sold through an authorized dealer.

Posted by MatrixSJD on December 7, 2007 at 12:55 PM (PDT)

3

MatrixSJD:

Not sure if you got my point.  A Singapore retailer that is not a representative for Apple could purchase unlocked phones in France and sell them in Singapore.  What laws would be broken?

Posted by Greg on December 7, 2007 at 3:15 PM (PDT)

4

Greg,

I do get your point, but why would they buy “legally” unlocked iPhones when they can purchase locked phones in the US for so much less?  The point I’m trying to get across is that they’re not going to get the legally unlocked phones, they cost more then one’s locked to AT&T in the US.  Buying it that way means more profit for them, so guess which way they’ll choose?

Posted by MatrixSJD on December 7, 2007 at 3:40 PM (PDT)

5

why would they buy “legally” unlocked iPhones when they can purchase locked phones in the US for so much less?

Hmmm… It could be, wait… I got it… Is it because they can sell it to people so people can use it with the carrier they want? And not waiting for Apple to release the iPhone in their country?

Posted by Zaci on December 7, 2007 at 7:05 PM (PDT)

6

Zaci,

I’m talking about the people unlocking the phones and reselling them, not people buying the already unlocked phones that can be put on any carrier, because those are legit.  The point is, that these resellers are not going to spend more to get legit unlocked phones, when they can get them cheaper in the US and unlock them themselves, therefore make a larger profit.  Why does no one seem to understand what I’m saying? It’s pretty simple.

Posted by MatrixSJD on December 8, 2007 at 3:04 AM (PDT)

7

zaci,
I understand u and ALL resalers r the same. They want to makeprofit ! And its not hard for a reseller from Singapore to get iPhones from the states. He dont have physicly fly to the states, all he needs is a trustfull contact point in the states.

Its hard for apple to control his. All u can do is to preform legal actions with thelaw

Posted by Dennis on December 8, 2007 at 6:37 AM (PDT)

8

I do get your point, but why would they buy “legally” unlocked iPhones when they can purchase locked phones in the US for so much less?

And exactly what is illegal about unlocking a US purchased phone and selling it? It’s certainly not illegal in the US, is there some law in Singapore you can point to which makes it illegal there?

Posted by m.s. on December 8, 2007 at 2:24 PM (PDT)

9

I think m.s. makes a good point here.  Unless Singapore has some law against it, I don’t see the problem.  And even if it is against the law to unlock a phone there, I highly doubt it is against the law to ship and unlocked phone there for sale.  Once you own an item, you generally have the right to do with it what you please (including blending it). Apple has no rights over an item once it sells the item unless the buyer also agrees to a contract with Apple but a simple purchase of a phone does not create a contract.  Someone could hack the iphone and make it run linux instead and sell it.  No problem.  I don’t know why a simple hack to unlock a phone would be any different, anywhere.

Posted by BrettB on December 8, 2007 at 10:07 PM (PDT)

10

BrettB,

The big problem comes when the users of unlocked phones come in to an Apple Store with an unlocked phone expecting service, and get mad when Apple turns them away.  That’s the biggest problem.

Posted by MatrixSJD on December 9, 2007 at 12:23 AM (PDT)

11

i am going to buy a Chevy car and put in a Ford engine and then go back to Chevy and expect them to service it.

just because you can do something to a product after you buy it does not necessarily mean that the original manufacturer needs to support you after you do so.

Posted by hydra-calm on December 9, 2007 at 9:45 AM (PDT)

12

those singapore store clerks keep us here pretty busy. You think they know that there is a discussion of what not and what yup they do or should do wink wink

i smell >>  M O N E Y   <<  .. just not in my pocket ;( ... more at the singapors sitepocket ...

Posted by dennis on December 10, 2007 at 5:26 AM (PDT)

13

Im planning to buy my first ever I Phone but I’m very cautious knowing that there are imitations mushrooming around. How do I know if it’s the real thing? Please help me out people. =(

Posted by Mark on May 22, 2010 at 3:48 AM (PDT)

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