Italy’s Anti-Trust Authority said that it has begun proceedings against Apple and Samsung for unfair trade practices. The watchdog accused the companies of a “commercial policy aimed at exploiting the shortcomings of some (tech) components to reduce the performance of their products over time and persuade consumers to purchase new versions”.
The two companies failed to “provide enough information for the maintenance of adequate performance levels of the devices, which were promoted and purchased based on their specific and elevated technological characteristics,” the regulator explained. Apple and Samsung also advised consumers to accept software upgrades without adequately informing them as to their possible consequences, the statement said.
Last month, controversy erupted when Apple issued a rare explanation on how it used software updates to limit the performance of older iPhones that may otherwise have to face battery issues. While the new update was initiated to stop the phones from shutting down randomly, it was taken negatively by iPhone users who claimed it was a way of forcing people to upgrade.
Apple later apologized and cut the price of replacement batteries, but denied it applied the slowdown as a means to encourage users to upgrade their phone. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the next iOS update will allow users to disable the slowdown if they choose, and provide more transparent information in terms of battery life.
The Italian regulatory is also looking at Samsung with the suggestion the South Korean company maybe doing the same. Samsung, on the other hand, is also facing legal case in France over the alleged use of child labor and other abuses in Chinese manufacturing plants producing its products.