Federal Trade Commission.
Proposed Consent Agreement.
The consent agreement in this matter settles alleged violations of federal law prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices or unfair methods of competition. The attached Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes both the allegations in the draft complaint that accompanies the consent agreement and the terms of the consent order—embodied in the consent agreement—that would settle these allegations.
Comments must be received on or before February 26, 2001.
Comments should be directed to: FTC/Office of the Secretary, Room 159, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, D.C. 20580.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
Kerry O'Brien or Matthew Gold, Federal Trade Commission, Western Regional Office, 901 Market Street, Suite 570, San Francisco, CA 94103. (415) 356-5266.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
Pursuant to Section 6(f) of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 38 Stat. 721, 15 U.S.C. 46 and Section 2.34 of the Commission's Rules of Practice (16 CFR 2.34), notice is hereby given that the above-captioned consent agreement containing a consent order to cease and desist, having been filed with and accepted, subject to final approval, by the Commission, has been placed on the public record for a period of thirty (30) days. The following Analysis to Aid Public Comment describes the terms of the consent agreement, and the allegations in the complaint. An electronic copy of the full text of the consent agreement package can be obtained from the FTC Home Page (for January 25, 2001), on the World Wide Web, at “http://www.ftc.gov/os/2001/01/index.htm. A paper copy can be obtained from the FTC Public Reference Room, Room H-130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, either in person or by calling (202) 326-3627.
Public comment is invited. Comments should be directed to: FTC/Office of the Secretary, Room 159, 600 Pennsylvania, Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20580. Two paper copies of each comment should be filed, and should be accompanied, if possible, by a 31/2 inch diskette containing an electronic copy of the comment. Such comments or views will be considered by the Commission and Start Printed Page 9346will be available for inspection and copying at its principal office in accordance with Section 4.9(b)(6)(ii) of the Commission's Rules of Practice (16 CFR 4.9(b)(6)(ii)).
Analysis of Proposed Consent Order To Aid Public Comment
The Federal Trade Commission has accepted, subject to final approval, an agreement containing a consent order from Sharp Electronics Corporation (“Sharp”).
The proposed consent order has been placed on the public record for thirty (30) days for receipt of comments by interested persons. Comments received during this period will become part of the public record. After thirty (30) days, the Commission will again review the agreement and the comments received, and will decide whether it should withdraw from the agreement or make final the agreement's proposed order.
Sharp advertises and sells the “Mobilon” line of hand-held personal computers (“HPCs”). Sharp's Mobilon HPCs, as well as similar devices from several other manufacturers, use the Microsoft Windows CE operating system. This operating system and several applications, including a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a database, are installed on these devices' ROM board. HPCs are designed to be upgradeable to newer versions of the operating system and/or applications through the purchase and installation of a new ROM board.
This matter concerns allegedly false and deceptive advertising of Sharp's Mobilon HPCs. The Commission's proposed complaint alleges that Sharp claimed that it would offer to its Mobilon customers an upgrade to a later version of the Microsoft Windows CE operating system when such a later version became available. In fact, Sharp never offered to its Mobilon customers an upgrade to a later version of the Microsoft Windows CE operating system when such a later version became available. Further, the company continued to represent that its Mobilon HPCs were upgradeable for several months after deciding not to offer an upgrade.
The proposed consent order contains provisions designed to prevent Sharp from engaging in similar acts and practices in the future. Part I of the proposed Order prohibits the company from misrepresenting the availability of any upgrade product. Part II of the proposed order requires Sharp to offer the promised upgrade to consumers who purchased a Mobilon 4100, 4500, or 4600 handheld PC. Under this provision, Mobilon owners may obtain the upgrade for the payment of a shipping and handling charge of $10. Parts III through VI of the proposed order are reporting and compliance provisions. Part VII is a provision “sunsetting” the order after twenty years, with certain exceptions.
The purpose of this analysis is to facilitate public comment on the proposed order. It is not intended to constitute an official interpretation of the agreement and proposed order or to modify in any way their terms.Start Signature
By the direction of the Commission.
Donald S. Clark,
[FR Doc. 01-3193 Filed 2-6-01; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6750-01-M