FutureFive NZ - Apple smacked with US import ban

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Apple smacked with US import ban

As the ongoing turf war with Samsung continues, an American courts decision to ban Apple gadgets in the country could cost the company as much as one billion dollars in lost revenue.

Dealing the Cupertino firm a major blow, the court ruled that some of Apple's products violated the South Korean company's patents - ordering an import ban on a variety of devices.

Applying to a range of older Apple products, the ruling covers AT&T models of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and 3G, as well as the original iPad and iPad 2.

Remaining defiant however, Apple said it was “disappointed that the commission has overturned an earlier ruling and we plan to appeal.”

“Today's decision has no impact on the availability of Apple products in the United States."

Samsung unsurprisingly welcomed the ruling, saying: "We believe the ITC's Final Determination has confirmed Apple's history of free-riding on Samsung's technological innovations.

"Our decades of research and development in mobile technologies will continue, and we will continue to offer innovative products to consumers in the United States."

Loss of revenue?

But the industry focus remains on Apple and whether the ban could cost the company as much as one billion dollars.

Forbes speculates that while the company should be relieved the ban applies to older products, the impact of diminished iPhone 4 sales could hurt Apple's finances.

"At stake are portions of two huge Apple product lines," writer Peter Cohan wrote.

"But how much revenue would the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 3G bans cost Apple? My crude estimate is at least $1 billion in revenue."

Yet despite such damning estimates, Apple investors spoke with their money, refusing a large sell-off of company stock despite the verdict.

But given Apple can and will appeal, CNET reports that US analyst firm Piper Jaffray believes the company can still survive even if the ban isn't overturned.

"The actual impact will likely be less than 1 percent given AT&T customers that would not have a chance to purchase an iPhone 4 could buy an iPhone 4S or 5 instead," Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray told the website.

"Given the iPhone 4 will likely be retired at the end of September, there should not be an impact after the September 2013 quarter."

Another avenue for Apple to explore is the ability for the company to bid for a reprieve from the US government, with President Barack Obama and the White House allowed to approve or disapprove the verdict.

In other words, watch this space, this is far from over.

Do you agree with the verdict? Will the ban hit Apple's finances hard? Tell us your thoughts below

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