Apple and Samsung each fined $5.7 million in Italy for throttling older phones

It's no secret that Apple was throttling its older phones in a bid to help conserve batteries at the expense of their processing performance. Consequently, lawsuits were filed against the company in New York and Ohio earlier this year over such practices. But the phone slowdown issue with legacy iPhones isn't just limited to the U.S. and the tech giant isn't the only company involved.

Apple and Samsung have been fined in Italy for allegedly slowing down their older devices through software updates. According to the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), the country's competition authority, the companies conducted unfair commercial practices by persuading their respective customers to download updates on their devices that were not adequately supported without warning them about the consequences. As a result, those devices encountered sudden shutdowns and both companies failed to help restore the products to their proper working condition.

The Apple devices in question included the iPhone 6/6 Plus and iPhone 6s/6s Plus, which ran into problems when users installed iOS 10, which was designed for the iPhone 7 according to the AGCM. Due to the higher power demands of that OS version, older phones were not able to adequately support it. Although the Cupertino giant released a fix in February 2017 in iOS 10.2.1, Apple did not inform users that installing that update might throttle the speed of the devices, the AGCM said in a press release.

In the case of Samsung, the device involved was the Galaxy Note 4, which malfunctioned in some instances after users installed the Android Marshmallow update on the handset. Since that update was developed for the newer Galaxy Note7, it took its toll on the older device's hardware, forcing some customers to foot high repair costs beyond the warranty period.

Ultimately, the AGCM levied a €5 million fine (~$5.7 million) each against Apple and Samsung and another €5 million against Apple for a separate violation involving its failure to inform users about the specs of their phones’ batteries and how to maintain and replace them. This is not the first time that Apple has been fined in the country: in 2011 Italy's antitrust authority gave the company a 900,000 euro (~$1.2 million) penalty for misleading customers over the technical support for their devices.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

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