Earlier in January, Italy’s antitrust authority opened up separate investigations into both Apple and Samsung, to confirm whether the two companies were using their software updates to intentionally slow down their older devices. Now, the verdict is out.
The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) has now issued a statement saying the two smartphone giants did indeed deliberately throttle old devices, in an attempt to to push customers to upgrade regularly. The authority has charged both companies with violation of several consumer codes, and has issued fines.
AGCM has issued Apple a $5.7 million fine for problems faced by various models of the iPhone 6 when users installed iOS 10. The OS was developed specifically for the iPhone 7, yet it was placing too much of an energy requirement on the old model, potentially causing unexpected shutdowns.
If you don’t remember, Apple at the time released an update to “fix this” which basically amounted to throttling the performance of the iPhone 6 without offering users the choice to toggle the feature. Additionally, Apple is also being hit with a second $5.7 million fine for not telling users specifics about their batteries in the first place, like what their lifespan is
and how best to maintain and replace them.
On the other hand, Samsung is facing a $5.7 million fine from the body because, when it released its Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 update for the Galaxy Note 7 those who installed it on the Note 4 found it too demanding for the older device. This led to many user’s phones malfunctioning in some cases, forcing them to pay for expensive repairs since it wasn’t covered by warranty anymore.
Even if not outright malfunctioning, Note 4 users reported a whole host of problems thanks to the update, from quick battery draining to connection drops, and more. The AGCM again here said Samsung didn’t warn users of the possible side effects.
It’s not clear whether the companies plan to fight this fine, or if they even can. However, they’ve both since been careful about this particular issue at least, with Apple even apologising for the battery problems at the time and offering iPhone 6 users discounted replacements.