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Apple and Samsung fined by Italian authorities over slow phones

26 October, 2018, 00:17 | Author: Melinda Barton
  • Italy slaps Apple and Samsung with a combined €15M fine over dodgy software updates

Apple and Samsung have been fined a relatively sod-all amount - just a few million dollars - by Italy's antitrust watchdog for purposefully slowing down old phones.

Believed to be the first ruling of its kind against smartphone manufacturers, the investigation followed accusations operating system updates for older phones slowed them down, thereby encouraging the purchase of new phones.

They said the updates 'caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, ' which, in turn, prompted users to update to the latest devices.

While $5.7 million for Samsung (or $11.5 million for Apple) is essentially chump change, the fine still represents a concerted effort to create a legal precedent that "Batterygate" and the "Samsung slow down" are things which really happen and need to be monitored.

"Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4's performance", a spokesman said. This pushed consumers to buy new devices, according to AGCM.

Samsung's software updates for its phones have not previously been questioned.

'To limit the occurrence of such inconveniences, Apple released, in February 2017, a new update (iOS 10.2.1), without warning consumers that its installation could reduce the speed of execution and functionality of devices.

An Italian court has ordered Apple and Samsung to pay major fines for slowing down their devices.

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The US company was forced to admit previous year that it intentionally slowed down older models of its iPhones over time, sparking concerns it was unfairly nudging consumers to upgrade. Again, neither companies disclosed users this was happening nor did they provide any way restore the original functionality.

Additionally, the AGCM fined Samsung €5 million pounds.

In response, Apple said it would temporarily lower the cost of battery replacements, and give punters better tools to gauge battery health.

Samsung plans to appeal the fine.

A similar investigation is still ongoing in France, where it's illegal to shorten a product's life span to boost sales, the Guardian reports.

Both firms are now required to publish a declaration on the Italian versions of their websites telling customers about the authority's decision.

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.

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