Apple & Samsung Penalised For Intentionally Slowing Down Phones
Consumer Groups in Italy filed cases against Apple & Samsung for purposely slowing down older generation smartphones. The cases were filed in the Italian Competition Authority for which the verdict is now out. Both the companies have been found guilty. Samsung faces a fine of 5 million Euros while Apple faces a total fine of 10 million Euros for two different cases. The investigation found out that Apple & Samsung pushed firmware updates for older devices which downgrades their performance.
In 2016, Samsung urged the Note 4 consumers to upgrade to the latest Marshmallow update. The Note 4 was released back in 2014. The Marshmallow update was made available after the launch of the Note 7 in 2016. Consumers complained that the new update was not optimised for the Note 4. It caused serious malfunctions, including unwanted automatic restarts, as it put too much stress on the ageing Note 4. The excessive stress caused a lot of hardware failure which had high repair costs to fix as the devices were out of warranty by then. Additionally, the report emphasised that Samsung did not provide for a viable option to downgrade the device which would bring back the phone to their original state.
Similarly Apple also persuaded their customers to upgrade their old devices to iOS 10. Various models including iPhone 6/6 Plus & 6s Plus which were launched in 2014 & 2015 were provided with the iOS 10 update. The iOS 10 update lead to shortened battery backup due to greater energy demands of the software. To limit this issue Apple released yet another update in the form of iOS 10.2.1. This reduced the device’s speed to prolong battery performance.
Moreover, Apple was found guilty in violation of Article 20 of the Italian Consumer Code. Until December 2017, Apple did not provide consumers with sufficient information regarding batteries. Such as stating their average life cycle and deterioration pattern. Along with information about their rectification measures to maintain and replace batteries in order to retain full functionality of the device.
Both companies also need to publish an amending declaration on their Italian websites about the issues and its counter measures.