Apple owns up to gouging Chinese

After an internet campaign by Apple fanboys protesting its innocence, Cupertino has finally confessed to cheating its Chinese customers.

Apple fanboys flooded the web after journalists revealed that the company was not playing fair with its warranty agreements.

If an iPhone broke in the rest of the world, Apple would give the user a new one. In China they would take the phone away to be repaired. Apple insists on a one year warranty, something it can’t manage to get European regulators to accept.

Apple denied the allegation and its fanboys hit the net to claim that the Chinese journalists who made the claim were lying.

Now, according to ReutersApple chief executive Tim Cook has confessed and apologised to Chinese consumers over his company’s antics.

He said he had altered iPhone warranty policies in its No. 2 market after more than two weeks of condemnation in the state-run media of its after-sales service.

It seems that Apple realised that it could not win when the state controlled press were against it. From China Central Television to the People’s Daily newspaper, government-controlled media outlets bashed the world’s largest technology corporation for its “arrogance,” protesting among other things that its current one-year service warranty was far shorter than in other markets.

Cook said due to “insufficient external communication”, some consider Apple’s attitude to be arrogant, inattentive or “indifferent to consumer feedback”.

In a note on the company’s Chinese website he said: “We express our sincere apologies for causing consumers any misgivings or misunderstanding”.

Cook said in the long letter that Apple has “much to learn about operating and communicating in China”.

We guess it has worked out that if wants China to be a huge part of its bottom line it has to stop treating its punters like idiots.

It has also shown what happens when Apple does not control the press, like it does in the West. One of the few advantages of a state controlled media is that if a big corporation does something wrong, it is unlikely that the press will let them off.

Apple will offer full replacements of iPhone 4 and 4S instead of major repairs, adding a one-year warranty starting from the date of replacement.

Jobs’ Mob will provide simpler and clearer explanations of warranties on its website and allow customers to offer feedback directly, Cook said. The company will also provide refresher training to service providers to explain the new warranty policy, he added.