Counterfeit iPhones have been on sale in Asia since at least six months before Apple released the product, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. "iClones" are available in Taiwan with touchscreens and Apple's logo on the back. A counterfeiter identified only as "Ben" said his company designed the knockoffs from photos posted on the Internet after Steve Jobs displayed the product. "The guts aren't hard," he said. "The hard part is the design and the exterior." Apple is not planning to launch the iPhone in Asia until 2008, but "[w]e can't ignore iPhone because it's so hot," Ben said. He sells his knockoffs over the Internet for the equivalent of $270 to customers in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and the U.S. His phones do not use Apple software and can be used on any network. "It's the exterior we are imitating," Ben says. "If customers want functions, we can offer more and much better functions than the real phone." Apple has not explained the delay to Asia, although JPMorgan analyst Kevin Chang suggested carrier networks may not yet be able to support iPhone technology. "We are committed to pursuing counterfeiters and others who steal from us and deceive our customers," said Apple spokeswoman Jennifer Bowcock. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, phony goods cost the global economy $650 billion a year.
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Earnings call transcript: Apple F3Q07
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