ROME, Italy – Tech giants, Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., are currently under fire due to allegations of planned obsolescence. According to reports, Italy’s antitrust organization, Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), launched an investigation on both Apple and Samsung after consumer complaints regarding slowing down of devices surfaced.
The issue all began in December, when Apple users started noticing that their old devices have started slowing down after an operating system update occurred. Apple eventually revealed that they have been secretly slowing down older units through software controls. This admission only led to lawsuits and, apparently, more problems.
Apple and Samsung have now been accused of intentionally introducing the updates to cripple old units and force consumers to purchase new ones. These allegations have pushed the antitrust group in determining whether the tech companies are truly throttling old devices.
The Italian watchdog stated that neither Apple nor Samsung provided any information regarding negative impacts that could take place on the performance of the phones upon updating their software. Both companies have also never given any guarantee on the minimum speed on their devices in any of their advertising.
However, AGCM has not mentioned any of Apple’s battery-related power management system. They only pointed out how the company did not provide sufficient information to assure users of a device level of performance that is adequate.
AGCM claims that if proven guilty, the Cupertino-based tech company and South Korean conglomerate could each be facing fines in the range of “multi-million euros.” This is in violation of articles 20, 21, 22, and 24 of Italy’s national consumer code. All of these codes are in relation to guarantees made by companies to buyers.
Apple and Samsung will have to prove themselves not guilty of the accusations before the French watchdog finishes their preliminary investigation, which could take months. The findings that the group will acquire will either make or break both companies. The case could be dropped, or it could be turned over to a judge for a thorough investigation. Apparently, French law states that companies may face fines of up to 5% of their annual sales for intentionally curbing the life of their products to incite demand to replace them.
Apple had already addressed the issue of the slowdown last month, explaining the changes that they have been making. The American company claimed that the software tweaking that they performed was an effort to prevent older models from unexpectedly shutting down. They also offered a resolution to their customers.
They lowered the price of battery replacement for iPhone 6 and above devices. Aside from that, the company announced an iOS software update that is set to be released sometime in early 2018. It will come with new features including one that will allow users to see the health of their iPhone’s battery.
As for Samsung, there are no details regarding any reports of consumer repercussion due to throttling of their devices. No prior reports have been made also. This makes it only interesting as to why the company is being included in the AGCM’s investigation. Both Apple and Samsung have not made any comments regarding the investigation yet.