Italy's Antitrust Watchdog Fines Apple, Samsung Over Software Updates

The anti-trust watchdog in Italy is gearing up to fine Apple and Samsung, stemming from complaints that the two used software updates to slow down smartphones.

According to a CNBC report, citing the anti-trust body, the two were fined $5.7 million each. Apple was fined for failing to provide customers with clear information on how they maintain and replace handset batteries. Consumer groups in Italy have been complaining that software updates for mobile phones lower the functionality of the devices in an attempt to force the consumer to purchase a new one.

In a statement, the anti-trust regulator said that some of the software updates issued by Apple and Samsung had “caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly, thereby accelerating the process of replacing them." The regulator noted Apple and Samsung didn’t provide customers with enough information about how the software would impact the phones, nor did they share any information on how the original functionality of the products could be restored.

Late last year, Apple acknowledged that it slows down older versions of its iPhone, which promptly resulted in a lawsuit against the Cupertino, California company. According to a report in CNBC citing a court filing at the time, shortly after Apple said it has an algorithm in place that slows down older iPhones to ensure they can run longer, Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas brought a class-action lawsuit against the company in California, where the two plaintiffs live. In the lawsuit, the two claimed Apple never got their consent to slow down their iPhone 7 devices. The two claimed they then faced interference in usage of their smartphones because of the intentional slowdowns. Both are also claiming damages in the lawsuit, contending that the slowdowns hurt them economically and that they are entitled to compensation from Apple. The two are seeking class-action status in the lawsuit, which would cover all the people in the U.S. who own an iPhone that is older than the iPhone 8.



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