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Italy fines Apple, Samsung millions for slowing phones

26 October 2018

The ruling is believed to be the first against the manufacturers following accusations worldwide that they encourage operating system updates for older phones which slow them down, thereby encouraging the purchase of new phones.

An allegation made by Italy's consumer watchdog claimed: "Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices" and that operating system updates "caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones' substitution".

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It fined Apple €10m ($11.4m): €5m for slowing down the iPhone 6 with its iOS 10 update, and a further €5m for not providing customers with sufficient information about their devices' batteries, including how to maintain and replace them.

Apple users with iPhone 6 devices were likewise urged to update to new software intended for iPhone 7 "without warning consumers that its installation could reduce the speed of execution and functionality of devices". Many saw this as proof that Apple had indeed been conducting planned obsolescence, or taking steps to intentionally slow down aging hardware in hopes of convincing users to replace said devices with newer, faster models. Now it looks like Apple wasn't the only company throttling the old devices. The company has said it does this to conserve battery life, but it led to complaints that it's a tactic to force people to shell out for newer phone models. It also said that it would cooperate fully with the Italian Authority for Market and Competition during the investigation. "Both companies will also be required to publish an amending declaration on the Italian page of their websites informing about Authority's resolution with a link to its assessment decision", also stated the organization's official statement.

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If this all sounds familiar, it's because Apple's "Batterygate" scandal in late 2017 exposed the Cupertino company as doing the very same thing.

Apple got hit with a €5 million fine for a similar problem. And they did so without explaining the impact of the update, without sufficient support and with no way of restoring the original functionality.

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As in this story from the Android Central forums, when Note 4 users asked Samsung about the problem they were told it was fixable, but that they would be charged for the repairs as the older phone was then out of warranty.

Italy fines Apple, Samsung millions for slowing phones