Samsung And Apple Fined For Slowing Down Devices With Software Updates
We've all suspected it, but few of us actually believed it could be true. Now Apple and Samsung have been fined huge amounts - well, to us, not them - for deliberately slowing their phones down.
The two companies have been fined €10m (£8.82m) and €5m (£4.41m) respectively by investigators in Italy for what they are calling 'planned obsolescence'.
Basically, it means that they have been building the phones with the direct intention that they slow down over time, forcing you to buy a new one.
The investigation was launched in January by the Italian body responsible for monitoring competition between companies, and they discovered that software updates from both companies actually had a detrimental effect on the performance of their devices.
Those jammy sods.
It is thought that this is the first time such a ruling has been made against any smartphone company, although it had been suspected for some time that something like this was going on.
Anyone who has ever owned one of Apple or Samsung's phones must surely be familiar with the inevitable death of their phone through no fault of their own. That or you just go through phones really quickly because you're clumsy.
The Italian antitrust watchdog found that 'Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices'.
It also found that the certain updates for operating systems 'caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones' substitution'.
In essence, when everyone said that you were mad for even thinking it, you were right all along.
They also sounded out the companies for not telling customers enough about what the impact of installing the updated software would be and failing to offer 'or any means of restoring the original functionality of the products'.
As a result of this ruling, both companies were issued the maximum fine of €5m, though Apple was fined an additional €5m more for a separate issue involving their batteries.
Both Apple and Samsung must now also display information about the ruling on their Italian websites.
Apple actually admitted last year that it slowed phones down with software, though the company claimed that it was doing it to prevent the phone shutting down unexpectedly due to degradation of their lithium batteries (there's that extra €5m, by the way).
Apple has since apologised, made replacement batteries cheaper, and offered the option to stop the processor slowing down as well as monitoring battery life.
Samsung intends to appeal the decision, saying: "Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4's performance. In contrast, Samsung has always released software updates enabling our customers to have the best experience possible."
This could be just the beginning of lawsuits like this one. There is an investigation ongoing in France that bears similarities to the Italian one, and there is a class action lawsuit underway in California regarding similar issues.
This is the first time that Samsung has been questioned over the software updates for devices.
Featured Image Credit: PA