Published: Thu, October 25, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Apple and Samsung fined by Italian authorities over slow phones

Apple and Samsung fined by Italian authorities over slow phones

The Italian Competition and Market Authority (AGCM) opened an investigation against Samsung and Apple over claims of planned obsolescence.

The organisation accused the two tech giants of "unfair commercial practices in violation of Articles 20, 21, 22 and 24 of the Consumer Code in relation to the release of some firmware updates for their mobile phones which caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced their performance, in this way speeding up their replacement with more recent products".

Have you ever felt that your device feels slower after you upgrade to a newer OS version?

Apple was also found to have failed to tell customers about "essential" characteristics of its phones' lithium batteries, including their average life and how to prolong that life, resulting in a bigger fine than for Samsung.

Specifically, the AGCM said insistent requests were made by manufacturers for consumers to download and install updates on devices that were not able to adequately support them and provided no means of restoring original functionality.

Apple actually admitted a year ago that it slowed phones down with software, though the company claimed that it was doing it to prevent the phone shutting down unexpectedly due to degradation of their lithium batteries (there's that extra €5m, by the way). Not only has the Italian Anti-Trust watchdog fine Samsung $5.7million, but it has also fined Apple $11.5 million for a similar offense.

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At first, Apple had denied it intentionally shortened the life on any of its products.

Apple was fined an additional 5 million euros for failing to provide adequate information on how to maintain and replace phone batteries.

It said it slowed models to extend the performance of the phone - which uses less power when running at slower speeds - and to prevent unexpected shutdowns.

The company's smartphone software updates have not previously been questioned, according to the Guardian. Apple has also faced questions from the US senate over the issue, as well as more than 60 separate lawsuits, which have been ordered to be consolidated into a single suit in the Northern District of California.

"We are disappointed with the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) decision", said Samsung in an email statement. Also, both companies will be required to post notices with links to this decision by the Authority on their Italian websites.

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