(Source: Reuters)

The iPhone ads are now banned in the UK for being "deceptive".  (Source: Apple)
Microsoft, Verizon, and other Apple critics have found a supporter in the Britain's regulators

Apple has been a pain in the side of carriers such as Verizon and others vested in the cell phone industry, such as rival Microsoft.  They have attacked the iPhone, but have been unable to dent its strong sales.  Now the iPhone's detractors may have found some relief in the form of an unlikely ally -- the Britain's regulatory boards.

The U.K. has banned the current set of iPhone ads from appearing on TV in the country.  It says its Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the independent regulatory agency in charge of regulating television, received two complaints that Apple's claims in the ads that its phone could access all of the internet were misleading due to its lack of Java or Flash support, essential to accessing much of the internet.

The ASA sided with the consumer and concluded that the ad was inaccurate.  It proceeded to contact Apple about the perhaps deceptive nature of the ads.

Apple complained back that it was unreasonable to expect it to ensure compatibility with every third party plug-in or technology on the internet.  Both Flash and Java are proprietary technologies.  However, the fact remains that they are two of the most broadly used standards on the internet.

The ASA was unmoved by Apple's complaints and pointed out that Apple specifically chose to state in the ad that "You'll never know which part of the internet you'll need... all parts of the internet are on the iPhone"  which would seem to imply support for all major standards.

In its conclusion, the watchdog agency states, "We considered that, because the ad had not explained the limitations, viewers were likely to expect to be able to see all the content on a website normally accessible through a PC rather than just having the ability to reach the website.  We concluded that the ad gave a misleading impression of the internet capabilities of the iPhone."

Thus, it found Apple in violation of CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.1 (Misleading advertising), 5.2.1 (Evidence) and 5.2.2 (Implications).  It banned all further broadcast of the commercial, unless Apple alters it to qualify its statements.

Apple has built a name for largely by its witty self-congratulatory ads, such as its "I'm a Mac..." ads, touting its OS X.  Microsoft has long complained these ads are fallacious.  Microsoft is launching a $300M USD campaign, to counter them, featuring Jerry Seinfeld.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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