Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Day Three at the Supreme Court; Apple wants to offer refunds to Australians who want to return their new iPads

It's the final day of arguments at the Supreme Court as opposing sides argue the constitutionality of the new health care law, known now as Obamacare.

Yesterday's session seemed to tip the hand of Justice Kennedy whose tough questioning has led many court observers to believe that the justice is leaning hard towards overturning the law, especially as it pertains to the mandate which requires citizens to either buy health insurance from a private provider or pay a penalty (or tax, as it is administered through the IRS). Opponents to the law say this is unconstitutional, while defenders say that the government has a right to legislate this, just as many states require auto insurance.

The President would like to campaign over health care in the fall, but he has few friends on the issue. When the President and the Congress threw out the public option, liberals were left supporting a law that benefitted the health insurance lobby, while conservatives could claim the new law was an intrusion into their rights. By seeking a compromise that would satisfy no one, but would pass the Congress (even without Republican support) the President ended up burning both sides of the issue and is now left on an island trying to defend the law before the Supreme Court.

Many observers who last week thought there was a good chance the Supreme Court would uphold the law, now believe that in June part or all of the law will be struck down. The consequences will most likely influence the November election.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has taken Apple to court over the issue of 4G.

Apple has been advertising their new iPad as having 4G capabilities even though the new tablet is not compatible with the only 4G provider in the country (another provider will be offering 4G soon, but that network too will be incompatible with the new iPad).

Apple is said to want to offer refunds to any Australian consumer who wants to return their new iPads. That's a smart move, returns would be minimal. But the ACCC seems to want some sort of fine, or even a commitment to launch a compatible version (unlikely).

"It's been completely indifferent to the Australian market," Colin Golvan, senior counsel for the ACCC said in the Federal Court in Melbourne today.

Maybe the ACCC should worry more about the small and incompatible 4G networks being set up, no?