Samsung and Apple slapped with £13 million in fines for throttling phone performance

Apple and Samsung have been fined for deliberately forcing users to upgrade to newer and more expensive phones thanks to the “planned obsolescence” of their older devices.

Samsung and Apple slapped with £13 million in fines for throttling phone performance

Apple has been fined £8.8 million, while Samsung has been slapped with a £4.4 million charge. Both companies have to update their websites to say that they’ve been fined for this practice.

The fines come from the Italian competition authority following an investigation into the aforementioned planned obsolescence of their smartphones. Autorità 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.

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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.

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.”

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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.

While such fines are great to see from an industry watchdog perspective, neither Samsung nor Apple will be reeling from such tiny fines. Apple’s $1 trillion wealth can certainly afford to pay off a £8.8 million fine and continue on as normal. Samsung can also easily shoulder a £4.4 million bill and continue with the same practices.

Still, it’s good to see that someone is trying to hold these massive tech companies accountable for their actions.

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