Samsung, Apple fined over treatment of older-generation smartphone customers

Samsung, Apple fined over treatment of older-generation smartphone customers

Italy's competition authority on Wednesday said it was fining Apple and Samsung 10 and five million euros ($11.5 and $5.7 million) respectively for the so-called "planned obsolescence" of their smartphones.

As The Guardian notes, the fine followed an investigation into accusations that "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. 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. The performance seemed to suffer on devices with batteries in poor condition.

The fine is tied to the "Samsung slow down" - the drop in performance smartphones sometimes show after receiving new updates. 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.

The authority said the companies were given the "maximum prescribed fines" due to their size and the seriousness of the allegations brought against them.

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The antitrust authority said that Samsung did this "without informing them of the serious malfunctions that the new firmware could cause due to greater stress of device's hardware and asking a high fix cost for out-of-warranty repairs connected to such malfunctions".

Apple has apologized for its actions.

Both smartphone makers were fined for software updates Italian regulators say slowed older phones.

A watchdog group called the Italian Authority for Market and Competition just issued South Korean electronics giant Samsung a fine for 5 million euros (~$5.7 million), via SamMobile. The authority also argued that Apple should have issued instructions about replacing the battery in the iPhone. While it may not have been limiting CPU speeds, many users have complained about their older handsets feeling sluggish after major OS updates, including flagship ones like the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy Note 8.

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