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March 29, 2004

BBB Tells Apple to Halt Misleading Ads

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommended that Apple Computer stop advertising its Power Mac G5 as "the world's fastest personal computer" after reviewing tests that refute that claim. Acting on a tip from Dell, the BBB told Apple that its advertising could deceive consumers, who need to base their purchases on accurate information.
  
"The National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus recommended that Apple discontinue comparative performance claims regarding its Power Mac G5 personal computer," the organization wrote in a release. "NAD determined that the evidence provided by Apple did not provide a reasonable basis for its broad unqualified claims that its Power Mac G5 is 'the world's fastest, most powerful computer' and that it 'edged out the competition on integer' [processing performance]. NAD further determined that the advertiser's claim, 'the world's first 64-bit processor for personal computers,' could reasonably be interpreted to apply to workstations...this claim is [also] unsupported by the evidence."
  
Apple said it supports the BBB's self-regulatory nature and will voluntarily comply with the organization's recommendations. However, the company noted that the Power Mac G5 advertising campaign that makes the unsupported claims has already "run its course." Apple said it will be "mindful of the [BBB's] views in its future advertising."
  
The Power Mac G5 has been steeped in controversy since Apple unveiled the machine last summer. Like it does with many products, the company preannounced the Power Mac G5 to eager Macintosh fans, then delivered the product slowly over a period of several months. But Apple almost immediately found itself in hot water with tech enthusiasts because of its blanket statements about the superiority of the Power Mac G5 system compared with AMD- and Intel-based PCs and workstations. Many independent tests found Apple's performance claims to be spurious.
  
Then, in November 2003, the UK's Independent Television Commission (ITC, now part of the Office of Communications--Ofcom) banned Apple's Power Mac G5 TV ads in the UK, citing their misleading and unsupported claims. "Viewers complained that the advertising was misleading because the main claim was based on the results of limited tests in which the specification of the computers used was configured to give Apple the best results," the ITC wrote in its decision. "[Our] independent IT expert raised some concerns...[and] found that the claim was not supported by independent reviews and that at best 'the G5 was generally as fast as the best Intel-based workstations currently available.' The ITC considered that there was insufficient evidence to support the claim 'world's fastest, most powerful personal computer.'"
  
Regarding the most recent chapter in the Power Mac G5 story, Dell representatives said that the company notified the BBB because Apple's performance claims were inaccurate. "We felt there were some inaccuracies in Apple's advertisement and wanted to act on behalf of consumers in the marketplace who deserve accurate information on which to base their purchase decisions," a Dell representative said. "Essentially, we felt that clarity in the marketplace benefits consumers, and [the BBB] agreed."

End of Article



Reader Comments
At this point who cares anyways? The way technology moves so fast, there is already something faster out there, and then in a few months something faster.

If i was Dell, i would have not even bothered. Remember every 6 months in tech is like 2 human years, so i could be fast today and 2 weeks later Paul is faster. That is the nature of the beast and i think this is big to do about nothing IMO.

Victor March 29, 2004


IMO Apple has a near virtual monopoly in operating systems on the Power PC platform stiffling all competiton. This position of Apple's operating systems in the Power PC market is gained by exclusive and monopolistic licencing practices.

Stephen March 29, 2004


Poor baby Mikey Dell goes whining about Apple... again.

>>> "the world's fastest personal computer" after reviewing tests that refute that claim. >>>

Apparently Apple "won" using "neutral" benchmarking methods rather than using the Intel-maximized (read "Intel-biased") ones the Wintel people expected and wanted to be used. Surprise, surprise.

And Apple clearly stated “personal” computer yet Dell and the NAD/BBB say Apple is claiming workstations too. Only ones confused are Dell and the BBB.

>>> Acting on a tip from Dell, the BBB told Apple that it’s advertising could deceive consumers, who need to base their purchases on accurate information. >>>

And like Dell (or any company/advertiser) never "lies" or exaggerates... Dell - advertising quality products and making "award winning service" claims. Quality and service has fallen off (recent Consumer Report) and the so-called award was, IIRC, from the business sector. The average "consumer" Dell professes to worry about has in fact seen service decline. Who's lying now Mikey???

>>>… world's first 64-bit processor for personal computers,' could reasonably be interpreted to apply to workstations... >>>

Only at Dell's suggestion and warped imagination. I guess Mikey’s still upset he/Dell lost the Virginia Tech contract to Apple which lead to the Mac G5 “SuperMac” (3rd fastest “supercomputer” in the world at a fraction of the time and cost of 1 and 2).

>>> Like it does with many products, the company preannounced the Power Mac G5 to eager Macintosh fans, then delivered the product slowly over a period of several months. >>>

And who but Apple has the industry on it’s back to continually top itself with ever subsequent announcement? You don’t see anyone watching anxiously for the next big Dell (Wintel) “innovation” (cough) or product announcement. Apple may sometimes announce before it can fully deliver but at least it announces things worth waiting for. And wouldn't Dell love to be short supplied because of the popularity of it's products... it can only dream.

>>> But Apple almost immediately found itself in hot water with tech enthusiasts… >>>

Because Apple DARED suggest its machine were as good, if not better, and didn’t use the aforementioned Intel-biased tests.

>>> about the superiority of the Power Mac G5 system compared with AMD- and Intel-based PCs and workstations. >>>

Geez Paul, what is it about “personal computer” and “workstation” you, Dell and the NAD/BBB don’t understand? They are basically different animals and Apple advertised the G5 as such but Dell is upset the G5 matches or betters its so-called workstations (at lower cost) so it makes “spurious” (good word… you just used it for the wrong company) complaints. Apple has a personal computer that in many ways does indeed equal a workstation but the Apple ad complaint advertised no such thing… where is the substance to the Dell complaint? Maybe it’s complaining Apple didn’t say the G5 is actually a workstation disguised as a PC???

>>> the UK's Independent Television Commission (ITC, now part of the Office of Communications--Ofcom) banned Apple's Power Mac G5 TV ads in the UK, citing their misleading and unsupported claims. … The ITC considered that there was insufficient evidence to support the claim 'world's fastest, most powerful personal computer.'"

And every car company that claims it’s the “most luxurious”, “best riding”, “best built”, “best buy”, etc is speaking the gospel truth and not been challenged or removed from the British airwaves… wonder why that is? Wonder who launched the Apple complaint in Britain? Bill or Mikey?

>>> Dell representatives said that the company notified the BBB because Apple's performance claims were inaccurate. "We felt there were some inaccuracies in Apple's advertisement and wanted to act on behalf of consumers in the marketplace who deserve accurate information on which to base their purchase decisions," a Dell representative said. "Essentially, we felt that clarity in the marketplace benefits consumers, and [the BBB] agreed." >>>

Sure… Dell did this just because it cares so much about the consumer and has no other ulterior motive.

Talk of trying to snow people (it obviously did the BBB)… Dell should be dinged for such an outright, egregious lie!!!

Complain about someone “telling a lie” by telling an even BIGGER one… Oh the blatant hypocrisy and irony :-)

Joe Scozzaro March 29, 2004


I agree with Dell that consumers should base their purchase decisions on accurate information. The ITC stated that the G5 was generally as fast as the best Intel-based workstations available. That sounds like a rather fast computer to me. Now, perhaps Dell should work on moving the rest of its tier 1 customer service out of India. Virtually every recent survey shows that Apple is kicking Dell's butt when it comes to customer satisfaction and hardware reliability.

brich March 29, 2004


It's not so much about which is the fastest machine; it's about what the buying public *thinks* the fastest machine is and who make them. That perception can last a lot longer than the facts.

Sam March 30, 2004


I DONT THINK THAT MAC PROCESSOR IS FASTER OR BETTER THAN TOP SYSTEMS FROM INTEL OR AMD BUT IN ORDER TO HAVE A SIMILAR PERFORMANCE AS MAC YOU NEED TO USE GOOD COMPONENTS OR ELSE YOUR SYSTEM WILL NOT BE AS STABLE OR FAST AS APPLE.

CRISTOVAO March 30, 2004


Who cares!?!? I've got both machines sitting here on my desk. For some apps, the Mac works better, for others the Dell. Buy what works best for you, not what you hear in the ads.

Mike March 30, 2004


Stephen, the PowerPC is by no means ruled by Apple. Maybe as a workstation or as a personal computer, but not as a server. There are many flavors of UNIX that run on the PowerPC including AIX, IBM's version.

Editor's note: That's true. Apple isn't even the largest buyer of PowerPC chips. --Paul

George March 30, 2004


I'm a freelance techie and work on evrything from win3.1 (yeah really) to xppro, What I won't do is work on apple macs. I have always considered them a triumph of style over substance, and why, if they are so good, as their dedicated usuers claim, does m/s have 90% of the market? It looks to me as if the buyers have voted with their wallets..!
Regards.
Tony

Tony March 30, 2004


It would be nice if consumers had this kind of leverage with the BBB. It seems to me that most of these major computer manufacturers mislead the public in one way or another.

Joe March 30, 2004


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