Apple’s 802.11n Accounting Conundrum

Apple cited generally accepted accounting principles as reason for imposing a fee of $1.99 to customers who want to download software that would switch on the 802.11n Wi-Fi technology in MacBooks and MacBook Pros with Intel’s Core 2 Duo processor.

The Macs, according to the company, were released prior to the approval of draft 2.0 of the 802.11n specification. But now that the specification is complete, Apple said it is ready to distribute the software to enable the 802.11n hardware in the machines. However, because it already reported its revenues from the sale of the computers, Apple has to charge a nominal fee to determine the value of the software upgrade in order to comply with an accounting regulation known as SOP 97-2.

At Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the company added 802.11n chips in MacBook Pro and MacBooks with Intel’s Core 2 Duo processor but did not inform buyers about the said feature. The firm plans to start selling a new 802.11n Airport Extreme Base Station along with the upgrade software for $179 as well as Apple TV, which also hosts an 802.11n chip, in February.
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