Apple, Samsung both fined for slowing down phones through updates


Tech giants Apple and Samsung are being fined by Italy's anti-trust watchdog following accusations software updates slowed down older smartphones, which encouraged people to purchase new phones.

An investigation by the anti-trust authority revealed that "Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices", a statement said.

The ICA also said that a major "information asymmetry" exists between consumers and manufacturers, leaving device owners without the know-how to restore their phone's full capacity.

'Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4's performance, ' a spokesman said.

But that was "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".

When Apple was caught throttling devices, the community was upset mostly because Apple didn't disclose it. Previous year the Android 6.0.1 update was pushed to Samsung phones including the then two-year-old Note 4. Apple's solution was to throttle CPUs on older devices, which began with the iOS 10.2.1 update. Both companies have to update their websites to say that they've been fined for this practice.

The antitrust authority said that users of Samsung's Galaxy Note 4 received "insistent" suggestions to update to a new version of Android shipped with the Note 7 device.

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That's not all the AGCM is annoyed with Apple about, however - it's also issued a second €5 million fine for those universal frustrations with iPhone batteries.

Samsung plans to appeal the fine.

While such fines are great to see from an industry watchdog perspective, neither Samsung nor Apple will be reeling from such tiny fines.

Apple "did not offer any specific support measures for iPhones that had experienced such operating problems and were no longer covered by the legal warranty; only in December 2017 Apple provided for the possibility to replace batteries at a discounted price". It also said that it would cooperate fully with the Italian Authority for Market and Competition during the investigation.

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.

Samsung, on the other hand, hasn't released an official statement yet but we do hope to hear how they will overcome the problem especially considering that they denied the allegations earlier.