Apple and Samsung hit with fines in Italy for deliberate phone throttling

Customers were encouraged to download updates despite older devices being incapable of powering newer software

Apple and Samsung have been fined by the Italian competition authority following an investigation into the "planned obsolescence" of their smartphones, resulting in users essentially being forced into upgrading to newer and more expensive versions.

Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) said on Wednesday that the tech companies had violated Articles 20, 21, 22 and 24 of the Consumer Code because they issued updates to older devices which were incapable of running newer software correctly. This meant the performance of older devices was affected and, in some cases, caused handsets to malfunction.

The authority claims that this was done deliberately in order to force users to upgrade to newer devices after experiencing degradation in their current smartphone.

For example, Samsung was said to have told Galaxy Note 4 customers to install the latest Android operating system which was designed to run on the latest Note 7 devices, causing the performance of the older model to noticeably drop.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Following the investigation, Apple has been charged 10 million (8.8m), while Samsung has been fined 5 million (4.4m). Both companies will be required to mention on their websites that they have been sanctioned.

The AGCM said both companies "implemented unfair commercial practices".

"Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4's performance," a Samsung spokesman said. "In contrast, Samsung has always released software updates enabling our customers to have the best experience possible."

Apple has not commented on the decision, although AGCM said the reason it was fined a much larger amount was because the manufacturer failed to tell customers how to improve the lifespan of the lithium batteries, despite being obligated to.

Featured Resources

The IT Pro guide to Windows 10 migration

Everything you need to know for a successful transition

Download now

Managing security risk and compliance in a challenging landscape

How key technology partners grow with your organisation

Download now

Software-defined storage for dummies

Control storage costs, eliminate storage bottlenecks and solve storage management challenges

Download now

6 best practices for escaping ransomware

A complete guide to tackling ransomware attacks

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/cloud/microsoft-azure/354230/microsoft-not-amazon-is-going-to-win-the-cloud-wars
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft, not Amazon, is going to win the cloud wars

30 Nov 2019
Visit/security/identity-and-access-management-iam/354289/44-million-microsoft-customers-found-using
identity and access management (IAM)

44 million Microsoft customers found using compromised passwords

6 Dec 2019
Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/354273/pablo-escobars-brother-launches-budget-foldable-phone
Mobile Phones

Pablo Escobar's brother launches budget foldable phone

4 Dec 2019
Visit/network-internet/wifi-hotspots/354283/industrial-wi-fi-6-trial-reveals-blistering-speeds
wifi & hotspots

Industrial Wi-Fi 6 trial reveals blistering speeds

5 Dec 2019