Apple Australia issued an apology to research and advisory firm, Gartner today.

The company expressed regret over recent news, published by Apple Australia and carried in good faith by Mac news Web sites worldwide. It recounted the claimed findings of recent research, conducted on behalf of Apple by the analyst firm.

As mistakenly reported by Apple Australia, the research claimed Mac networks to be 36 per cent cheaper to maintain than their PC counterparts.

Apple Australia’s apology read: “On Wednesday, June 12, 2002, Apple Australia issued a press release to selected media regarding a Gartner Measurement project conducted for Apple. The information contained in that report was specific to a particular scenario, and was intended for Apple internal use only.

“The information contained in the report does not reflect Gartner’s published research position, and should not be referenced as such. The press release was not approved by Gartner, and Apple Australia apologizes to Gartner for any confusion this has caused.”

Unimpressed Far East Macworld sources report that Gartner: “Was none too impressed with Apple Australia releasing the news, and wants to let the world know that Macs are not necessarily cheaper than PCs, but were just so in this case.”

The mistakenly issued Apple press release detailed research conducted at Melbourne University’s Faculty of the Arts, which uses 4,676 Macs and 5,338 Wintel machines. It claimed to compare direct and indirect costs, declaring that Macs cost just AUS$1,953 per year to support, while Windows PCs cost $2,522. Macs also needed less technical support, and hardware and software costs were lower, the report claimed.

Neither Apple, nor Gartner, has officially denied that accuracy of these findings. However, Gartner seems keen to ensure that the public are made aware that the findings “do not reflect” the company’s public position on this debate.

Macworld hopes to report more details on the matter as they emerge.