Apple And Samsung Have Been Fined For Intentionally Slowing Down Phones

Posted October 26, 2018

Italian antitrust officials have fined Apple and Samsung, alleging that the phone manufacturers pressured customers to download software updates that led to device malfunctions, which ultimately pushed customers to buy newer products.

The anti-trust body said in a statement that some Apple and Samsung firmware updates "had caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly, thereby accelerating the process of replacing them".

In a statement on Wednesday, the Italian competition authority, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), said both companies had violated consumer protection laws by "inducing customers to install updates on devices that are not able to adequately support them".

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Apple was hit with a 10 million euro (£8.8m) fine while Samsung received a smaller bill of five million euros. A spokesperson for Samsung told The Guardian that the company did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4's performance.

According to the AGCM, both companies violated several consumer codes.

The fine is tied to the "Samsung slow down" - the drop in performance smartphones sometimes show after receiving new updates. Apple's solution was to throttle CPUs on older devices, which began with the iOS 10.2.1 update.

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Samsung was fined €5 million for encouraging Galaxy Note 4 users to install a new version of Android that slowed down their phones. Complaints of "planned obsolescence" appear to have carried a bit of weight, as the Italian anti-trust team has passed down fines to both companies.

The AGCM says Samsung didn't warn users that could happen.

Apple got hit with a larger fine because of the issues with battery life that it copped to back in December past year. It also said that it would cooperate fully with the Italian Authority for Market and Competition during the investigation.

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It added the two firms had not provided clients adequate information about the impact of the new software "or any means of restoring the original functionality of the products". Apple, for its part, has also gone on even before now to offer everything from battery replacements to an iOS feature that allows for turning off the throttling if users wish.