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Apple criticized for discrimination of Taiwanese buyers

TAIPEI, Taiwan — A former National Assembly representative yesterday launched a campaign of “one person sending one letter” to Steve Jobs, chief operating officer of Apple Inc. to protest the firm's discriminatory practice of denying Taiwanese buyers iPhone 4 protective sleeves.

Kao Chia-yu, an ex-representative of the former National Assembly and now a Democratic Progressive Party's candidate in the year-end Taipei city councilor election in Neihu and Nangang districts, launched the campaign as all the buyers of iPhone 4 supplied by Apple Inc. have failed to get the firm's original protective sleeves for the latest handset model as promised by the company's CEO Steve Jobs.

Jobs said earlier that those who purchased iPhone by the end of September will get a free protective sleeve from the company.

Taiwan's top three telecom carriers, namely Chunghua Telecom, Taiwan Mobile, and FarEastone Telecom started to sell the iPhone 4 on Sept. 17, around 50,000 pieces of the model have sold to local users, but none of them have got a free protective sleeve for the latest iPhone model.

According to Apple's regulations, Kao said, buyers can use their iPhone 4 to download an application program within 30 days after their purchase, and then Apple will send a protective sleeve to each user after verifying their data. “All the Taiwanese users cannot access the application program, because the Apple system rejects any e-mails sent from or addressed to Taiwan,” Kao said.

Kao stressed that while buyers of iPhone 4 in other parts of the world can enjoy free protective sleeves, those in Taiwan have been denied the device — a kind of discrimination against Taiwanese users.

Accordingly, it's imperative for users to send letters to Apple's CEO to protest the firm's ignorance of the interests of Taiwanese consumers.

Meanwhile, Chairman Hsieh Tien-ken of the Consumers' Foundation also blasted the Apple Inc. for discriminating against Taiwan's consumers in distributing the protective sleeves.

Hsieh called for the government to have the three telecom firms demand original protective sleeves from Apple for their customers who have purchased iPhone 4.

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