Apple, Samsung fined in Italy for slowing down their smartphones

Apple, Samsung fined in Italy for slowing down their smartphones

Apple and Samsung were both fined 5 million euros ($5.7 million) each by the Italian anti-trust watchdog, "following complaints they used software updates to slow down their mobile phones", Reuters reports.

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".

Furthermore, the AGCM hit Apple with a second €5 million fine for not providing customers with information about the batteries in their devices, like average lifespan and maintenance and fix instructions.

Italian consumer groups had complained that software updates for mobile phones reduced the functionality of the devices and were created to push clients into buying new handsets. Apple also throttled iPhones with degraded batteries in order to avoid unexpected shutdowns. To their eyes, both companies pushed users to download updates that they knew would disrupt the phone's functioning.

Apple actually admitted past year that it slowed phones down with software, though the company claimed that it was doing it to prevent the phone shutting down unexpectedly due to degradation of their lithium batteries (there's that extra €5m, by the way). This was the result of Apple admitting that they slow down old iPhones with updates and gave a decent reason for their actions.

Apple was handed a fine of €10 million, while Samsung will have to pay €5 million.

The ACGM said both companies had been fined the highest possible amount reflecting the severity of their dishonest practices.

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.

The companies will be required to publish an "amending declaration" on their Italian websites with a link to the AGCM's ruling.

Samsung said it would appeal the decision. It also said that it would cooperate fully with the Italian Authority for Market and Competition during the investigation.

At first, Apple had denied it intentionally shortened the life on any of its products.

Samsung for example told Note 4 users that install the Marshmallow update without informing them "of serious malfunctions due to the greater stresses of the hardware" - malfunctions that led to expensive out-of-warranty repairs in many cases.

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