Samsung has hit back over claims that it purposely slows down its older devices as a way of encouraging owners to upgrade to the latest models. Both the Korean company and Apple are being investigated by Italy’s antitrust body over alleged ‘planned obsolescence.’
The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) said both firms 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.” If true, this would infringe on four separate articles of Italy’s national consumers’ code.
Apple, of course, has admitted to throttling performance in older iPhones with an iOS update. It says this is for the users’ benefit as it prevents unexpected shutdowns caused by degraded batteries, but that hasn’t stopped a number of lawsuits being launched against the company for not being open about its actions.
Shortly after Apple’s admission, Motorola and HTC said they don’t throttle smartphone CPU performance based on age. Samsung and LG eventually put out similar statements.
Responding to the probe, Samsung said in a statement to Nikkei that it "does not provide the software updates to reduce the product performance over the life cycle of the device.” The spokesperson added that "We will fully cooperate with Italian Authority for Market and Competition's investigation in Italy to clarify the facts."
Last week, Tim Cook said a future iOS update would allow users to disable the battery throttling Power Management feature, but that hasn’t placated the anger of consumer groups, including one in South Korea that has filed a criminal complaint against the Cupertino boss. The Citizens United for Consumer Sovereignty is accusing Apple of destruction of property and fraud.