While Apple might be scoring major legal victories against Samsung in the U.S., authorities in Italy are threatening to impose a 300,000 euro fine and temporary closure of local operations if Apple doesn't offer a free two-year warranty on iPads, iPhones, and other products.
The Autorità garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM, or the Guarantor Authority for Competition and Market) enforces the law which requires retailers to offer a free two-year warranty on electronics. Apple has already sucked up 900,000 euros in fines for not telling customers about their right to a free second, and instead try to up-sell them with the extended warranty. Even after that fine months ago, Apple hasn't changed their tune, and now the AGCM is threatening a closure of Apple operations in Italy for up to 30 days. In response, an Apple spokesperson has simply said "We have introduced a number of measures to address the Italian competition authority concerns and we disagree with their latest complaint."
This is vaguely reminiscent of what was going on in Australia and Apple's marketing of the new iPad as 4G (despite it being incompatible with LTE networks). It's a given that Apple will fight government impositions that could limit their profitability, but there comes a point where it's hard to argue with the lawmakers. It's great that Italy's government has consumer interests at the forefront, and that they're willing to protect them even if it's at the cost of Apple's goodwill. It's worth noting that Apple's customer care tends to be above and beyond what you normally get from electronics manufacturers, so I could see how the costs associated with that care might not allow Apple to offer basic warranty beyond the first year.
Any Italian readers in the house? How have you found Apple care? Has the lack of two-year warranty really stung? Those of you elsewhere, wouldn't it be nice if we got a two-year warranty without having to pay more?