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UK Competition Appeal Tribunal Allows Apple Battery Lawsuit to Proceed

Apple Inc. has been dealt a blow in a class action lawsuit in London, as the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled Wednesday (Nov. 1) that the case can proceed.

The lawsuit accuses Apple of misleading customers about a power management tool in iPhones, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. The suit claims that Apple falsely informed customers that software updates from late 2016 would improve battery life when, in reality, it allegedly “throttled” battery performance.

Apple has vehemently denied these allegations, stating that it has never intentionally shortened the life of its products or degraded the user experience to drive customer upgrades, according to the report. However, the plaintiffs argue that Apple concealed this tool in the updates to hide the fact that the phone’s batteries were unable to handle the processing demands of the new software.

The ruling by the Competition Appeal Tribunal opens the door for millions of U.K. iPhone users to potentially receive compensation for battery replacements or new phone models, the report said. Justin Gutmann, a market researcher leading the lawsuit on behalf of U.K. iPhone users, expressed satisfaction with the decision, stating that it marks a step toward allowing consumers to receive the compensation they deserve.

In December 2017, Apple issued a statement and a discount in response to a “Battery Gate” dispute around its controversial decision to slow down older phones to protect battery stability.

The firm slashed $50 off the out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement for the next year and promised a new software update for the following year to give users more insight into battery life.

“We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down. We apologize,” the company said in a statement released at the time. “There’s been a lot of misunderstanding about this issue, so we would like to clarify and let you know about some changes we’re making. First and foremost, we have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades. Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”