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EU Says iPhones Will Be Pulled, If Proven Dangerous

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iPhone_boomThe European Union isn’t taking reports of potentially dangerous iPhone malfunctions lightly. EU Commissioner for Consumer Protection Meglena Kuneva issued a warning today that iPhones will be pulled from store shelves if it turns out recent screen explosions are hardware-based problems.

Kuneva says the issue is now in the hands of independent labs checking to see if it is in fact something integral to the devices that’s led to the incidents. Apple (s aapl) maintains that the problems are freak exceptions, and seems to have suggested to the EU Commission investigating the matter that users overheating lithium-ion batteries is what’s to blame.

For those not up to date, iPhone owners have reported several separate exploding screen incidents in a number of different countries, including EU member states. The similarity of the accounts and the behavior of the devices up to and including the actual explosions themselves, in addition to the mounting number of incidents reported, led the EU’s Commissioner for Consumer Protection to mount a full-scale investigation into the matter.

Apple’s line has always been that the problems are due to user abuse, not something wrong with the devices themselves. Claims by Commission members that Apple is specifically citing overheated lithium-ion batteries is the closest the company has come to pointing out a specific cause for the incidents.

Commissioner Kuneva also discussed what information she needs to act, and cited another case in which a product was proven dangerous and removed from market:

We need to have 100 percent certainty from one member state that these goods are dangerous. If I receive from the French authorities information that they are dangerous, I will act in the interests of the consumer. I will ask my network for a recall of the product as we did with the Italian (Senseo) coffee machines. There, it was proven that they burned the hands of consumers.

If confirmation comes from any member state investigating the matter in which one of the incidents occurred, a group which includes Britain and Germany in addition to France, the EU will stop the sale of the iPhone across all member countries. This won’t directly affect sales in other international markets, like the U.S., but other countries may be prompted to impose bans of their own following the EU’s findings.

There is little Apple can do at this point besides await the commission’s decision, since any admission of a hardware defect on its part would lead to a product recall and a cessation of sales anyway. Better to wait and see what independent lab testing shows, and have its hand forced in a worst-case scenario.

14 Responses to “EU Says iPhones Will Be Pulled, If Proven Dangerous”

  1. As much as I love my iPhone, sitting next to me right now, I have to admit that baby gets hot real quick. I’m French as well (by birth), and can definitely we have a different approach on the whole litigation thing… Like Guiraudn above said it, we’re not a litigious crowd — some have tried to take up on the US habit of Sue-anything and wait to see what sticks, but it just failed miserably over and again out here…

    I’d say if “one or two” iPhone malfunctioned, even if 10 did, it’s well below the accepted risk (for any products, services etc)… Every time you buy a car, that car might have a factory defect and send you rolling, the manufacturer recalls, and gets back to business. I don’t see why it shouldn’t be any different on this occasion.

    If the Apple has a worm in it, then it’s best to take it out of the basket, isn’t it? :)

    — Apart from the above, Apple needs to step down its pedestal if it wants to masses that we are, or just stay up there for the Elite… You can’t have it both ways…

  2. Some people here should work for Apple.
    –> “those making the claims who are all looking for monetary damages”…….
    I’m french, and in France, we don’t gain our lives with trials. I mean ….. the best we would have against Apple would be a new iPhone (the least, isn’t it ?), the lawyer paid by apple, and 2000$. Just enough to go to a restaurant to debate and say we won’t buy Apple again.

    –> “No iPhones have “exploded” at all.” …..
    It append in Uk. I totally admit it may be the only one. But …. it’s possible…..

    About the fair investigation, I could only speak for France, but it will be as fair as possible. The scientists are really strong and are totally independant from anybody. The only fear they could have would be to let a dangerous product go …….

  3. I find it very remarkable that now the EU’s mission against Microsoft had come to an end the EU takes up complaints against Oracle and Apple, two fierce competitors of Microsoft. And both cases are ludicrous: the SUN/ Oracle deal was already approved in the US and we only have a very small amount of incidents with iphones (or ipods?).

  4. I really wish you guys didn’t keep promulgating this “exploding screen” nonsense. If you are going to report on it at all, at least stop using the “exploding” word that all the tabloids used when it broke and stick to the facts.

    – No iPhones have “exploded” at all.
    – No iPhone screens have “exploded” at all

    There is a report of a *single* iPod nano *battery* (purportedly) exploding from overheating, but the only witness was a very, very young boy.

    There have been some tiny, tiny, amount of reports of shattered iPhone screens which witnesses claim “cracked on their own.” No one has yet found any evidence to support this claim, and no one has any proof of injury from the screen cracking.

    There is certainly no evidence anywhere and never has been of any iPhone “explosions” or any “exploding screens” beyond the hearsay of those making the claims who are all looking for monetary damages.

  5. They’d have a tough time pulling my iphone from my hot, burned hand that’s for sure. They better have a suitable replacement ready if they pull these suckers from the market.

    Fortunately I live in the US so I don’t have as much to worry about. But still, shitty if they decide to pull iPhones from the market.