Technology giants Apple and Samsung have been fined by Italy’s competition authority for “planned obsolescence” of their smartphones. While Apple has to pay EUR 10 million or $11.5 million as fine, Samsung has been fined with EUR 5 million $5.7 million.
According to a report in Reuters, the ruling is believed to be the first against smartphone manufacturers for encouraging OS updates for older phone models, which ultimately just slows them down. Most consumers end up purchasing a new smartphone after older one they are using becomes slow, courtesy updates sent by the company.
The anti-trust authority said after the investigation that both Apple and Samsung “implemented dishonest commercial practices”. It further said that the operating system updates sent by the companies “caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones’ substitution.”
After the launch of Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the South Korean technology giant told the owners of Galaxy Note 4 to install that Android version that was meant for Note 7. On installing the update, most users’ smartphones became really slow.
Similarly, iPhone 6 users were told by Apple to install the operating system update that was actually meant for iPhone 7. And when they did, they started facing problems with their device.
The Cupertino based technology company also did not inform its users about the “essential” characteristics of iPhone’s lithium batteries. The users were not aware of the batteries’ average life and how they prolong that. This led to a bigger fine for Apple than the one that Samsung got.
The investigation by Italy’s anti-trust authority started in January after customers complained of facing issues. It is worth noticing that at the same time, a similar probe was going on in France.
Apple admitted last year that it intentionally slowed down older iPhone models over time. This led to a number of customers feeling short-changed and concerns about the company unfairly encouraging customers to buy newer models came up.
However, at that time, Apple denied shortening the life of any product. It just admitted to slow them down in order to extend the performance. The company claimed that the smartphones use lesser power when they are running at a slower speed and this, eliminated the possibility of any unexpected shutdowns.
The company also faces a class-action suit in the United States.