Italy’s antitrust body is investigating Apple and Samsung over planned obsolescence


  • The Italian government opened a probe into Apple and Samsung phone complaints.
  • Italy’s antitrust body alleged both companies diminished phone performance to push people toward new phones.
  • Neither Apple or Samsung has commented on the matter.

Italy’s antitrust body announced Thursday it is looking into complaints regarding Apple‘s and Samsung‘s alleged use of software updates to push people to buy new smartphones.

According to Reuters, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) says both companies executed “a general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce customers to buy new versions.” This policy, says the watchdog, possibly infringes on several articles of Italy’s consumers’ code.

This alleged infringement could cost Apple and Samsung millions of euros in fines, if both companies are found guilty.

AGCM possibly gained interest in the matter when Apple confirmed it slows down CPU speeds of older iPhone models. The Cupertino company said it throttles speeds to prolong the usability of the lithium-ion batteries in older iPhones.

Even though Apple said this was for our own good, the news added fuel to the fire that it purposely slows down older iPhones to get people to buy the latest and greatest. Apple has since launched a program that replaces an out-of-warranty iPhone’s battery for $29.

That did not stop numerous entities from suing the Cupertino company, with France wondering whether Apple violated the country’s planned obsolescence laws. This ruckus seemingly aided the “Right to Repair” legislation, though, which recently gained some traction among lawmakers.

Since Apple’s announcement, Android device manufacturers like HTC and Motorola confirmed they do not throttle performance via firmware updates. Samsung remained notably quiet amidst the announcements, though that might have been best — its smartphones were known to slow down in a matter of months.

Apple and Samsung have yet to comment on the matter, so we will make sure to update you with the latest information as we get it.



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