Apple is facing more problems as a result of its alleged planned obsolescence practices. Italy’s antitrust body said it was looking into complaints that the company released software updates that slow phones and encourage consumers to buy new models. But it’s not just Cupertino that’s being probed; the watchdog is also investigating Apple rival Samsung over the same claims.
The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) says both tech giants put into practice “a general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce consumers to buy new versions.”
In December, Apple admitted to releasing an update that throttled performance in its older handsets to prevent random reboots caused by degraded batteries. There’s no direct mention of this throttling in the investigation but it will no doubt be a major element and likely prompted the regulator to take action—despite Apple's insistence it was helping owners.
The inclusion of Samsung is certainly interesting. Like many other companies—not just phone makers—it has also faced accusations that it slows down older products with updates, thereby pushing consumers to upgrade to the latest releases. While Motorola and HTC have announced they don’t perform Apple-style CPU throttling on their devices, Samsung wasn't as quick to put out a statement, though it eventually did.
It’s thought that the companies might have infringed four separate articles of Italy’s national consumers’ code. The pair could face multi-million euro fines if found guilty.
Yesterday, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the next iOS update would let users disable the battery throttling Power Management feature. But the firm still faces lawsuits from around the world for not being open about its actions, and is being investigated by a French watchdog for ‘alleged deception and planned obsolescence.’