Apple was blamed for supposed planned obsolescence of its products before, but nothing like when it was discovered that an iOS software update intentionally slowed down older handset models with worn-out batteries. The technology giant was sued over the practice in multiple courts and now a French consumer fraud group has fined the company 25 million euros, or about $27.5 million, because it had failed to properly inform its customers that iOS software updates might cause their iPhone to run slower than usual.
The country’s watchdog began its investigation more than a year ago.
The Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Suppression of Fraud (DGCCRF) wrote in a press release issued Friday that Apple had failed to properly inform customers that the update might slow down their device. Keep in mind that this fine has nothing to do with Apple’s practice of throttling the CPU on iPhones with worn-out batteries in order to prevent unexpected shutdowns and improve battery health.
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From the press release:
Seized on January 5, 2018 by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the complaint of an association against Apple, the DGCCRF has shown that iPhone owners were not informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (iOS 10.2.1 and iOS 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device.
These updates, released during 2017, included a dynamic power management device which, under certain conditions and especially when the batteries were old, could slow down the functioning of the iPhone 6, SE models and iPhone 7.
Unable to revert to the previous version of the operating system, many consumers would have been forced to change their batteries or even buy a new phone.
As part of an agreement between the DGCCRF and Apple, the Cupertino tech giant has not only agreed to paying the fine but also to inform its customers about it by publishing a press release on its local website in France for the next month.
The National Service of Investigations of the DGCCRF therefore communicated to the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2019 the conclusions of its investigations, finding that this lack of consumer information constituted a misleading commercial practice by omission.
With the agreement of the public prosecutor, Apple was offered a resolution comprising the payment of the sum of €25 million and the publication, for one month, of a press release on its website.
Things could have taken a turn for the worse if Apple had been found guilty of planned obsolescence. As noted by Engadget, in that case the iPhone maker could have been fined up to the whopping five percent of its sales revenue in the country.
Has Apple deserved this, do you think?
While we’re at it, do you think this fine will teach Apple a valuable lesson? Let us know where you stand on this topic by leaving your thoughts in the comments down below.