updated 05:20 pm EST, Tue November 13, 2012
Option still being sold online
Confirming yesterday's leak, Apple has officially stopped selling AppleCare in first- and third-party Italian retail stores, Reuters reports. An Apple spokesman explains that the policy has actually been in effect since November 9th. People can still buy AppleCare in Italy, but only through Apple's website. An updated notice on the site explains that "AppleCare Protection Plan benefits are in addition to two-year warranty from the seller under the Italian legislation to protect consumers."
The withdrawal of AppleCare from Italian stores comes in response to antitrust concerns from local regulators. For some time Apple marketed AppleCare as essential to getting two years of warranty coverage, instead of the one-year default Apple typically provides. The trouble is that European law guarantees a minimum two years of coverage, potentially making the earlier AppleCare marketing fraudulent.
The Italian government in fact hit Apple with a 900,000 euro fine, and after being dissatisfied with Apple's subsequent changes, threatened to close down the company's Italian division for 30 days and impose still more fines. Apple has protested claims and is still in talks, but the new developments suggest that the two parties may be coming to an agreement.