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Technology (Apple) Businesses Apple Technology

Apple G5 Ads Banned In UK 709

Justen writes "The Independent Television Commission has quietly banned Apple from airing an advertisement (in QuickTime here) for the Power Mac G5 in the UK. The Committee says that, prior to the initial broadcast of the ad, it was critical of the assertion that the Power Mac G5 is "the world's fastest, most powerful personal computer." However, Apple supplied what was asserted to be "fair and even" data, based partially on SPEC benchmarks, which "substantiated" Apple's claims and "satisfied" the concerns of their "IT expert." However, the Committee says some "viewers complained that the advertising was misleading," and thus, after an investigation, it reversed its original decision. The Committee has now decided that the ad "should not be re-shown in its current form." Conspiracy theorists take note, Apple's sales in the UK are up 36%, so far, this year."
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Apple G5 Ads Banned In UK

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  • Which conspiracy? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Suffering Bastard ( 194752 ) * on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:06PM (#7437899)

    Conspiracy theorists take note, Apple's sales in the UK are up 36%, so far, this year.

    Which conspiracy theory should I be concerned with? The theory that the ITC is out to thwart Apple or the conspiracy between Apple and ITC to sell more Macs?

    Glad to see the UK take a stand for integrity in advertising.

  • Re:Irony (Score:3, Insightful)

    by p4ul13 ( 560810 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:10PM (#7437939) Homepage
    It's an Apple commercial hosted on Apple's site. Ehh perhaps there's a new definition of 'irony' I haven't been informed of yet.
  • by glesga_kiss ( 596639 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:15PM (#7438015)
    Ben and Jerry's had to rename one of their flavors from something like "World's Best Ice Cream" to something else.

    That probably explains why Carlsberg advertise as "Probably the best lager in the world".

    Of course, it would leave Budweisser open to attack with their "king of beers" claim. Clearly wrong!!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:17PM (#7438041)
    No, just typically English. We have a fairly high standard of 'truth' in advertising here. I know its old fashioned but we beleive you can't just say any crap you want and be excused because 'its an advert'. Its called the dividing line between fact and fantasy.

    I saw the ad myself. I even remember thinking "thats a pretty bold claim" and wondering if anyone except me would even think to research/analyse/evaluate/complain.

    So people did complain. Good show!

    Because its simply NOT TRUE.

    Plenty of big iron boxes like Crays and IBM are obviously more powerful machines. The ad contains a blatently FALSE sataement.

    Apple merely wishes it were true. Which is not the same as it being true.

    btw I quite like Apple computers, and still do.
  • by merikus ( 722704 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:17PM (#7438042)
    I find this somewhat terrifying. While I agree that there should be some truth in advertising, I find it disturbing that eight people are able to file a complaint to an oversight board and have a commercial such as this pulled. Perhaps if Apple had clearly stated a falsehood I would agree that this commercial should be pulled. However, it seems to me that this issue is open to debate. What kind of evidence did this board want? What kind of tests would need to be done to prove Apple's assertion? I personally think that the advertiser should be given the benefit of the doubt unless there is clear and convincing evidence that the advertiser is promoting a falsehood. But I am an American, and I my cultural baggage informs my opinion, so who knows.
  • by darkgreen ( 599556 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:23PM (#7438116) Homepage
    big iron boxes like Crays and IBM are obviously more powerful

    While i would concede a point arguing that the current intel offerings are as fast or faster, I have to ask the question :

    what world do you live in where a Cray is considered a personal computer?!

  • The ITC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jd ( 1658 ) < minus city> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:26PM (#7438150) Homepage Journal
    makes a lot of lousy decisions, but it's usually better than if no decisions were made at all.

    Adverts should be held to certain degrees of honesty and integrity. In the US, you can (almost) say what you like, and get away with it. It's very rare that anyone's disciplined in any way, shape or form for misleading or deceptive practices, even when it's blatantly obvious fraud of the consumer is intended.

    In England, a few hundred complaints is usually enough to spark an ITC investigation into wrongful advertising. However, they're slow, beaurocratic, and often act in ways which gives the product and the misleading claims far more publicity.

    Nonetheless, they do some good. When a rogue advert is found and stopped, it does help bring a touch of reality to the industry. People tend to be a bit more skeptical, a bit more suspicious of claims that seem too good to be true. Which is good! Because it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    Here is one of those instances that I'd like each country to borrow a bit from the other. I'd like to see more free speech protection in the UK, but I'd also like to see commercial speech better regulated in the US.

    (Commercial speech should not have the same protections as other forms of speech. It should be protected, especially where it is true, but it shouldn't be absolved of all responsibility - it has a lot more weight and power than just some person you happen to meet, and that weight and power needs to be accompanied by responsibility.)

    Mindless Note: I honestly believe that the UK and the US sit on different halves of understanding how to make a civilization that can respect itself and others, while remaining strong, free and a damn good place to be. I don't pretend to know how to fit those halves together, or what bits of which are the good bits. All I know is that both countries achieve a degree of happiness in areas that the other can't, that both have strengths the other doesn't, and that on the level of individuals, the wisest are the ones who learn from others.

  • by Xunker ( 6905 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:27PM (#7438165) Homepage Journal
    Since when was any "big iron" a personal computer, eh? How often have you seen a Cray for sale at CompUSA or Time?

    People made the same argument about Apple claiming it was the first 64-bit personal computer: "I have an Ultra 5 right here on my desk", but a Sun is not a personal computer, neither is an RS/6000, ad nauseum.

    And remember, in the USA, "the fastest" really means "as fast as the competition." As long as all three brands of washing powder clean as well as each other they are the "the best".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:34PM (#7438245)
    So they're not allowed to use any AltiVec optimized compilers from now on? They are limited to use compilers that work on both platforms?

    Intel can't use their best foot forward because IBM hasn't finished their platform-optimized compilers?

    AltiVec is just there, but never used, and doesn't get used by applications like Photoshop, which NEVER shows up as a benchmark?

    Please. GMAMFB. They should both be allowed to put their best foot forward, not try and emulate the potentially lagging performance of the other platform. Apple will trip all over themselves to update the benchmarks once IBM finishes their new compilers. Will they be cheating then?
  • Is it possible... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bun ( 34387 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:37PM (#7438286) mark an entire thread 'redundant'?
  • Centrino? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by VapourFloppy ( 106639 ) <james@vapo u r t e> on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:47PM (#7438389) Homepage
    OK, if it was decided that the G5 ad couldn't be shown, when are they going to get around to banning the STUPID Centrino ad they're showing in the UK at the moment? It shows a mountaineer halfway up Mt Everest talking to his kids using his wireless-enabled Centrino laptop. I don't think anyone has installed a WiFi hotspot up Everest, so I can't see it's entirely representative of the technology.

    Yeah, OK, it says "service depends on availability of WiFi hotspots" in small letters at the bottom of the screen, but come on - the implication of the main ad is just ridiculous! Especially for the 99% of people who have no idea what it's all about.

    It's a bit like the P3 (I think) advert that claimed that a new processor would speed up your downloads - that one got pulled fairly quick :)
  • by CatOne ( 655161 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:48PM (#7438401)
    Blatantly false? Hardly.

    It's pretty common knowledge that benchmark results depend in large part on who runs them. Apple ran some tests (carefully selected, no doubt) which did show the G5 was superior to everything on those tests. I'm not surprised, it's a VERY fast computer.

    But sure, if you used a different compiler on the PC, or if you ran a different set of tests, the PC could well be faster on those tests.

    Does that mean that Apple's claims are blatantly false and misleading? I don't really think so. It's a marketing spin on something that's true in some (but not all) cases.
  • by OECD ( 639690 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:48PM (#7438409) Journal

    In Norway we have similar rules: You cannot air commercial claiming something that might be false

    I think I prefer the US model (being a native, that's probably to be expected.) In the UK/Norway model, no car could be 'the fastest car', since it would have to be fastest at ALL distances, terrain, etc. Yeah, it's more accurate, but the annoying picky accuracy of grammar nazis.

  • by twocents ( 310492 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:49PM (#7438416)
    "Tired of viruses, ugly looking icons, a confusing line of operating systems? Want to have the power of BSD in a stylish design? Hate Windows and are not so sure yet about Linux? Well, then buy Mac."

    I'm not trolling with my love for Apple here. Instead, just pointing out some ways for Apple to go about being a larger thorn without having to argue their point. Novell has been known for their outspoken attitude at times, so perhaps it's not so far fetched to imagine a Novell ad in the near future promoting Linux in a similar vein?

  • Re:Superfalous? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by happyfrogcow ( 708359 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:53PM (#7438445)
    That's after the fact though. Companies will always proclaim their products as "the best, the fastest, the strongest." It's a fact of marketing- what company would say "Our products are mediocre, behind X and Y" and expect decent sales?

    And slowly the world would be held up by millions of little white lies, which individually don't matter much, but together they form a flimsy foundation for what should be a trustworthy global community.

    Good job, Europe! I applaud you.

    marketing departments should be officially renamed to "The Department of Lies, Cheats, and Doublespeak" as should University curriculums which give degrees in Marketting.
  • Re:Superfalous? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @06:56PM (#7438469)
    It's a fact of marketing- what company would say "Our products are mediocre, behind X and Y" and expect decent sales?

    None of them, of course. Instead they would ignore the whole performance issue and point out that their computers looked more like yummy gumdrops than the competition.

    It's a fact of marketing.

  • by jon3k ( 691256 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:04PM (#7438544)
    I could easily build a quad xeon monster and sit it on my desk, effectively making it a personal computer.

    personal computer [n. Abbr. PC ]
    "A computer built around a microprocessor for use by an individual, as in an office or at home or school."

    There claim was simply too broad. They also claimed it to be the first 64bit computer (maybe for personal use? who cares, they're still wrong).

    I was pretty shocked they made the claim myself. Seemed a little over the top to me.

    DISCLAIMER: I would *love* to own a new G5. For now I'll stick to building ~3ghz PC's for under $500.
  • by Dan-DAFC ( 545776 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:11PM (#7438612) Homepage
    It's not the number of complaints that's important, it's the nature of the complaint. One complaint would have been sufficient. It's not a popularity contest. As a silly and extreme example, if one person goes into a police station and accuses you of being a murderer the police will investigate. They won't wait until they get 100 complaints about you killing people. If you do something wrong it's still wrong regardless of how many people complain.
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:15PM (#7438657) Journal
    Then the dual Athlon MP/Tyan system sitting to my left must not be real! Thanks for letting me know!

    All joking aside, you have been able to buy dual processor desktops for A LONG time.
  • by salt-master ( 325482 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:26PM (#7438768)
    Apples claim:
    "the world's fastest, most powerful personal computer"

    "the G5 was generally as fast as the best Intel-based workstations currently available"

    Apple never claimed to have the fastest workstations instead the fastest personal computer. The only way they were able to demonstrate that Apple was misleading was by using a different class of computer (which cost much more).
  • by the morgawr ( 670303 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:32PM (#7438809) Homepage Journal
    you have been able to buy dual processor desktops for A LONG time.

    I know that, I run a dual Xeon System. The fact that you and I (not to mention other computer geeks) have these systems and probably use them as personal systems, does not make them "personal computers".

    Going to and looking under home, or students, you won't find dual processor systems. The same is true of almost every other x86 vendor. Apple on the other hand markets it's dual processor systems to home users.

    This leads to my conclusion: From the stand point of "personal computers" (and we can argue about what this really means all day), I'd be shocked if the highest end (dual processor) Apple couldn't out perform the highest end "personal computer" from an Intel vendor(which will inevitably be a UP).

  • by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:38PM (#7438873) Homepage
    I just did some surfing, for $750 you can buy a bare frame with motherboard and PSU that will take dual 3.2 MHz Xeon processors. It should be possible to fully kit out the machine for $3K all in, even if you go for insane amounts of RAM and a high end video card.

    And yes, $3K is definitely a personal machine. Its the same as Apple want for their G5.

    The slight of hand here is that Apple is classifying the competition as being something different. Basically the Apple definition of PC seems to be 'any computer less powerful than our flagship'.

    The UK Advertising council does not accept half truths.

  • by LenE ( 29922 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:40PM (#7438893) Homepage
    We have a fairly high standard of 'truth' in advertising here.
    Plenty of big iron boxes like Crays and IBM are obviously more powerful machines. The ad contains a blatently FALSE sataement.

    Apparently extreme truth in advertising is necessary to not confuse the English mind. The ad clearly states "The worlds fastest, most powerful, personal computer."

    Where the hell did you get the idea that "big iron boxes like Crays and IBM" are personal computers?

    In the US, superlatives are OK, as by some measure something can be the most, best, or greatest. The problem is when some product is advertised with comparatives. A product can be the best, but just better requires irrefutable proof.

    They said fastest and most powerful, and by the SPEC benches they submitted, it is. They didn't say the G5 is faster than a Dell dual Xeon 3.0 running XP or a HP Pavilario running Red Hat because this type of apples to oranges comparison would require specific results and would throw off the simplicity of the advertisement.

    Anyone who takes the claims of a twelve word advertisement as gospel is a retarded idiot who shouldn't be allowed to buy anything more expensive than a pack of bubble gum. If this is the situation in England, then I truly feel sorry for the few intelligent people who are trapped there and have to be protected by this type of "truth in advertising" laws.

    -- Len

  • by Attitude Adjuster ( 683211 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:45PM (#7438952)
    Couldn't disagree more!

    A standard compiler is not part of the SPEC benchmarking process, because what we're all interested in estimating is the ultimate hardware performance, not hardware + a compiler only some of us will use (and joe home user, be he windoze or mac user, won't be compiling anything with gcc himself.). If you want to measure hardware performance, you should use the compilers that actually make use the hardware in the way it was intended.

    GCC isn't taking advantage of the hardware in a uniform way between the the various x86 architectures and the Motorola G4 or IBM 970 chips, so I don't see how you can think its a truly level playing field either. Its certainly not using the exact same machine language in all cases.

    Why didn't Apple use IBM's XL compiler, which does have 970-specific optimizations - they could have, and shown us a real comparison against Intel and AMD? That would have saved everyone from this annoying fuss... I feel they were too busy attempting a quick PR victory using numbers that exaggerated the differences in chip speed.

    If you can afford to buy Apples products you can damn well get Intels compiler if you really need something to run fast, even if you are a running linux and wouldn't dream of actually buying other software.

    All misleading advertising should be challenged. Unless you are a technophile and read fine print you would be mislead by those ads - the spec scores are only one of the way they're exaggerating. This knee-jerk over-hyping and then fanatical defense of everthing Apple does (not specifically by you, I mean in general) exceeds that of the Microsoft apologists in volume. Its a pity, because its making ./ is go way down in signal-to-noise.

  • by CatOne ( 655161 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:46PM (#7438969)
    I'm sure you could build a system that will outperform a G5 for the same price, in every application.

    However, again comparing white box systems to full systems with a warranty by a major vendor really isn't fair. You need to compare to a system from a top tier vendor like Dell.

    Compare a dual Xeon from Dell to a G5, and you'll see they're fairly similar.
  • Silver lining... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by psyconaut ( 228947 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @07:48PM (#7438993)
    Apple may have had their ads pulled...but look at all the free media advertizing the story generated ;-)

  • by CrowScape ( 659629 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:07PM (#7439211)
    Except for the fact that I can go to a newegg and buy a dual processor mother boards from a list that mixes them in with single processor mother boards. Now, are you contending that sites like newegg do not cater heavily to personal users?

    The enthusiast/do-it-yourself market throws a wrench in advertisment-based categories. Instead, price and capabilities become the things to look at, not what some .jpg image with an href tag says on the internet. Under those metrics, if the G5 is a personal computer, so is your dual Xeon.

    You also have to deal with the fact that in its marketing efforts Apple does go and compare it to Xeon based systems, so it can't go and say "don't compare me to a server/workstation" now.
  • by CrowScape ( 659629 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @08:49PM (#7439670)
    But that mid-sized sedan cannot, in fact, have the body of an SUV nor can it only have two doors. There are specifications that classify cars as a sedan. Any car meeting those specs is a sedan regardless of marketing.

    You say that you cannot cite a different market segment, but I am not doing that. I'm looking at people who want to spend $2000-3000 (or $4000, still in the range of a G5) for a computer that will run a wide and flexible range of software applications. Whether you call a machine in that range a personal computer or a workstation is neither here nor there as they perform the same function at the same cost. The link you clicked when you bought them does not change what they are.

    And again, Apple does feel that it is fair for them to cite a workstations in their ads, so they themselves were the first ones to open this door:
  • Re:The ITC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WolfWithoutAClause ( 162946 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:28PM (#7440027) Homepage
    You could easily sue these businesses for false advertising.

    Suing is never easy or risk free. You can win and still be stuck with enormous legal costs, or you might be awarded costs, maybe. Or you lose, in which case you would lose big. In any case the lawyers win. And suing a well-healed corporation is even more risky, they can afford expensive lawyers that are more likely to win (if nothing else), or they can just buy you off (in which case the advert stands and other, less knowing people will get ripped off.)

    Personally I much prefer an 'umpire' to make the decisions- it's cheaper alround that way- sure they don't always make the absolute best decisions, but like an umpire in sport, they're usually pretty good and very rarely terrible.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:39PM (#7440131)
    There's a big difference between saying a computer is one of the fastest personal computers in the world, and saying the computer is the fastest computer in the world. The G5 was destroyed by the Athlon64, and never beat Opteron, which raises significant doubt to Apple's claim.
  • by Frogknoll ( 723134 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @09:49PM (#7440222)
    This was first posted elsewhere. My apologies if the ideas have already been expressed here:

    What seems to be missing from this discussion is a single word at the heart of the issue: metaphor.

    The expression "the world's fastest, most powerful personal computer" contains two living, breathing metaphors:fastest and powerful. It is the nature and charm and power of metaphors that they are deceptive, and that no enumeration of facts (time to complete certain tasks, or whatever) can prove them. (There is, after all, the fact/metaphor gap to consider.)

    No, "fastest" is not a quantitative claim when applied to stationary objects. Neither is "powerful", "higher", or "stronger" when applied to computers. No, Apple did not present their metaphors as fact; no, such obvious evaluative metaphors are never "objective statements".

    Not since a jury ruled against Papa John's for its slogan "better ingredients, better pizza", have so many people been duped by metaphor in advertising. Please, people, get over it! If you think that the G5 really is the fastest personal computer, you are deceived by language. If you think that it really isn't the fastest, you, too, are deceived by language. Use metaphors, by all means, but don't believe them!

    And please: if you live in the U.K., call off the metaphor police!
  • by Hoser McMoose ( 202552 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:11PM (#7440378)
    Single processor Opteron systems with AGP graphics, plain old PCI slots and ATA hard drives were out months before Apple even announced they had "the world's first 64-bit personal computer".

    Calling a dual-processor computer with a PCI-X bus a "personal computer" and a single-processor system with a PCI bus a "workstation"?

    The original poster is right, Apple's ads are incorrect and misleading. That being said, so are the ads of just about every other company out there.
  • by CrowScape ( 659629 ) on Monday November 10, 2003 @10:45PM (#7440633)
    Under the law, luxury car is >= $40,000 in the US. You get more tax on it. Yes, price has everything to do with market segment, and it's not determined by advertising but by, get this, THE MARKET. This is why you don't see dual processor machines advertised for home use, because they're too expensive and for the one segment that would spend the money (gamers) dual processors can even be a hinderance. So, PC makers adapted their advertising to fit the market. Despite this, the people who need the power for their personal use still have easy access to the proper systems. Thus, expense is the MAJOR component in the x86 world that determines how a computer will be marketed. Now, with Apple they handle a completely different market segment than Dell or HP does which has its own rules. This means that Apple's advertisment campaign is guilty of equivocation, switching between the x86 definition of personal computer, developed under the rules of the x86 marketplace, and Apple's definition of personal computer, developed under the rules of Apple's unique marketplace, as if they meant the same thing. It's still false advertising.

    And yes they cite workstations on their website because they also target that market with a version of the G5 with more RAM, fiberchanel cards, etc.

    Ah, but by your arguement Apple must have a seperate website for you to go to if you want to buy the G5 "Workstation", otherwise it wouldn't be a workstation. However, you can go to and notice that there's nothing to distinguish a G5 personal computer from a G5 workstation. Careful! You might buy the wrong one!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @04:12AM (#7442210)
    The problem is, that G5 is slower even in Apple selected benchmarks with Apple selected compiler when compared against Athlon64.

    Pentium4 is slow with GCC, naturally both were used in Apple tests.
  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @05:52AM (#7442468)
    It was pulled because it was at best misleading (there are PCs that have comparable performance to a G5 at the same price, even before it was released) and at worst, it is a bare faced lie. Zealotry has nothing to do with it I'm afraid. I own a Mac and a PC and I considered the claim highly dubious even as soon as it was made. It was doubly dubious in fact that it was touted as a 64-bit machine, failing to point out that nearly all of the OS and all of the software was still 32-bit rendering the claim rather specious and misleading.

    Apple have a long and illustrious track record of stretching the truth and this time they stepped over. I don't see what the fuss is. If they can't make claims are backed up by impartial facts and reality they deserve to be yanked every time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @07:09AM (#7442682)
    Well sure it should always be taken from whence it comes, but as far as marketing goes I believe history has shown that if you claim something way out impossible, like for example, a fruit juice company saying "Our tropical forests produce the sweetest oranges on earth, where they are hand picked for the best tasting juice around" is generally regarded ok. Now if they were to say something like "Our juice has the most vitamins [when compared to our competitors] ...." they will get crucified.

    So at first glance Apple should be in the hotseat for making SERIOUS claims that just arent true, but, as you say - it's based on a benchmark, that can be tweaked to favor the benchmarkee (is that a word?) Which in my mind puts it in the "Our tropical forests..." category.
  • by Zhe Mappel ( 607548 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2003 @10:59PM (#7450406)
    It's a civilized response from a society that still believes there are other centers of authority than merely business.

    Changes of that happening here in the US are next to nil, as we cling to the shibboleth of deregulation even when it brings us crisis after crisis in energy, health, stocks, banking, industry, etc. If your Blair keeps studying his lessons well, you can have our troubles, too.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court