December 7, 2007 / 1:14 AM / 12 years ago

S'pore shops remove illegal iPhones after Apple threat: paper

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore retailers have pulled illegally tampered iPhones off their shelves after Apple Inc threatened to sue, The Straits Times cited shop owners as saying.

Apple sent warning e-mails about a month ago to retailers selling “unlocked” iPhones, which are hacked so they can be used with service providers other than those that Apple has partnered, the newspaper reported on Friday.

Since the iPhone’s introduction in June, hackers have been trying to untie the device from Apple’s exclusive mobile network partners such as AT&T in the United States, with the first success cases reported in July.

Apple could not be immediately reached for comment.

The Singapore shops said Apple, which also makes Mac computers, iPod media players and runs the iTunes online music store, said it would sue for S$1,000 ($693) for every illegal iPhone sold.

According to The Straits Times, Apple estimated that about 250,000 iPhones had been unlocked worldwide.

The trendy device, which combines a phone, music player and Web browser, is currently sold only in the United States and Europe, but Apple plans to launch the product in Asia next year.

Reporting by Chua Baizhen; Editing by Valerie Lee

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