Apple and Samsung Sued in Italy for Intentionally Slowing Older Devices

by Vins

Have you ever been using you’re an older smartphone and thought, man, this phone used to work so much better? Somehow, over the three years you’ve owned your phone, its operating system has slowed significantly, and it won’t work as quickly as it used to. If so, an Italian government regulatory agency may have the answer to your concerns.

As the BBC News reported in October 2018, Apple and Samsung have been sued in Italy for intentionally slowing their older devices in an apparent move to incentivize customers to buy newer models, according to the regulatory agency, the Italian Competition Authority. Apple got slapped with a $10 million fine, and Samsung was fined $5 million.  Samsung denied the accusations and said it were “disappointed.” According to the BBC, Apple got hit with a higher fine because it didn’t explain to users how to properly prolong their phones’ battery life.

The story was reported in the BBC, and a few other prominent media outlets, including CNBC.  The story blew over quickly however. It seems nobody really noticed the potential repercussions of such a discovery.  Having paid a relatively low fine, these companies are now free to continue slowing their phones with little risk and are probably trying harder to conceal their efforts now that they were found out.

Source: “Apple and Samsung Fined by Italian Authorities over Slow Phones,” BBC News, October 24, 2018, www.bbc.com/news/technology-45963943.

Student Researcher: Aaron Goren (University of Vermont)

Faculty Evaluator: Rob Williams (University of Vermont)

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