Apple and Samsung fined millions for “planned obsolescence” of old smartphones

Haythem Elmir

Italian Competition Authority AGCM fined Apple and Samsung a 5 million Euros and 10 million Euros for “planned obsolescence” of their mobile devices.

After a long investigation conducted by the Italian Competition Authority AGCM, the agency has fined Apple and Samsung a 5 million Euros ($5.8 Million) and 10 million Euros ($11.5 Million) for “planned obsolescence” of their mobile devices.

According to the Authority, the tech giants companies would have provided software updates on devices that were not able to support them, without providing accurate and correct information and without allowing any subsequent uninstallations

Both companies are accused to have been slowing down their old devices with the intent of encouraging users to purchase new devices.

In particular, Samsung was challenged for the update issued on May 2016 for Galaxy Note 4, while for Apple the AGCM questioned the update issued on September 2016 for the several devices supported at the time (i.e. iPhone 6 and 6s); Apple failed in providing the correct information of consumers about the effects of the updates that had an important impact on the performance and autonomy of the batteries.

“As a result of two complex investigations, the Italian Competition Authority – AGCM has ascertained that companies of Samsung group and Apple group have carried out 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.” ” AGCM said in a statement.

“The two companies have induced consumers – by insistently proposing to proceed with the download and also because of the significant information asymmetry of consumers vis-a-vis the producers – 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.”

Back in December 2017, Apple apologized for slowing down older iPhones, the company introduced features, that impacted the iPhone 6, 6S, 7 and SE, to cope with aging batteries.

On the other end, In January Samsung announced that it “does not provide the software updates to reduce the product performance over the life cycle of the device.”

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