Italy fines Apple, Samsung for slowing phones

Italy fines Apple, Samsung for slowing phones

Italy fines Apple, Samsung for slowing phones

Italy's top anti-trust watchdog today fined Samsung and Apple €5 million each over allegations their software updates deliberately slowed down users' phones, Reuters reports.

The ruling is believed to be the first against the manufacturers following accusations worldwide that they encourage operating system updates for older phones which slow 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.

It fined Apple and Samsung, which have denied any wrongdoing, €10 million and €5 million respectively.

'Samsung, since May 2016, has insistently suggested to consumers that had purchased [the] Note 4 (marketed from September 2014), to install the new firmware based on the new Marshmallow version of Android, conceived for the new device Note 7, 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, ' the Authority's investigation finds. This pushed consumers to buy new devices, according to AGCM.

When Batterygate was in full swing, Samsung (among other Android OEMs) vowed it had never caused intentional slow down on older devices.

Unlike Apple, the South Korean company's software updates for its phones have not previously been questioned. The company admitted in December a year ago that it was indeed throttling older iPhones because the aging batteries within them could not keep up. Again, neither companies disclosed users this was happening nor did they provide any way restore the original functionality.

Both firms must publish a declaration on their Italian websites telling consumers of the authority's decision.

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

The Cupertino company later apologised for its actions and reduced the cost of battery replacements.

While such fines are great to see from an industry watchdog perspective, neither Samsung nor Apple will be reeling from such tiny fines. The authority also argued that Apple should have issued instructions about replacing the battery in the iPhone.

Teenagers posing with their Samsung Galaxy S4 (left) and iPhone 4 smartphones.

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