For many years, and many generations of smartphones, brands have been accused of reducing the performance of older phones to push sales of new phones. Last year, phone manufacturer Apple admitted to this practice, after several reports by users.
The iPhone manufacturer admitted last December that they had released a “feature” that occasionally reduced processing power on older phones to prevent them from unexpectedly shutting down. They went on to state this was necessary for older batteries that could overload.
After the statement, various countries launched probes into the “planned obsolesce” of Apple’s iPhones, and it looks like they took the initiative to jump on Samsung as well.
Apple and Samsung are being fined by Italy’s Anti-trust organization Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM). The two tech companies are being fined the maximum amount possible in what looks to be the first ruling of its kind against smartphone companies in Europe.
“The two companies have induced consumers to install software updates that are not adequately supported by their devices, without adequately informing them, nor providing them an effective way to recover the full functionality of their devices,” AGCM states.
Operating system updates “caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced their performance, in this way speeding up their replacement with more recent products.”
Samsung is fined 5M Euros for their transgression, while Apple was hit with 2 separate fines. Other than the fine for deliberately slowing phones, they have been fined for failing to tell customers important details about iPhone batteries – including how to prolong their lifespan. Apple’s overall fine is 10M Euros.
The ruling came from problems occurring on Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4.
French authorities have also launched a probe over accusations against Apple, but a judgment has yet to be made. French law considers “intentionally shorten[ing] the life of any product in order to promote sales” as a crime, punishable by up to 5% of a company’s annual turnover or a jail term.
Samsung intends to appeal the ruling, and released a statement that stated “Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4’s performance. In contrast, Samsung has always released software updates enabling our customers to have the best experience possible.”
Apple does not seem to have released a statement at this time.