Italy’s competition authority said it is fining Apple and Samsung 10 and five million euros ($11.5 and $5.7 million), respectively, for the so-called “planned obsolescence” of their smartphones.
The ruling is believed to be the first against the manufacturers following accusations worldwide that they encourage operating system updates for older phones which slow them down, thereby encouraging the purchase of new phones.
Two “complex investigations” by the anti-trust authority AGCM revealed that Apple and Samsung implemented unfair commercial practices, a statement said.
“The two companies have induced consumers to install software updates that are not adequately supported by their devices, without adequately informing them, nor providing them an effective way to recover the full functionality of their devices,” the AGCM said.
Operating system updates “caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced their performance, in this way speeding up their replacement with more recent products.” Samsung “insistently suggested” to owners of its 2014 Note 4 phone to install a new version of Google’s Android operating system intended for the more recent Note 7, the ACGM said.
But that was “without informing them of the serious malfunctions that the new firmware could cause due to greater stress of device’s hardware and asking a high repair cost for out-of-warranty repairs connected to such malfunctions”.