FRENCH REGULATORS have launched an investigation into Apple following revelations that the firm is deliberately slowing down older iPhones.
Under French law, it is a crime to intentionally shorten the lifespan of a product with the aim of making customers replace it. Companies found guilty of doing so risk fines of up to five per cent of their annual sales.
Apple insists it throttles iPhones to prevent processors from demanding too much power from older Lithium-ion battery packs, which degrade over time, but that hasn't stopped French pro-consumer group Stop Planned Obsolescence (HOP) from filing a complaint against the firm.
The group alleges that Apple has "deliberately" slowed down some iPhone models through a software update, and claims it did so to coincide with the release of the newer iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
"The slowing down of older devices seems to have the deliberate aim of pushing Apple customers towards purchasing the new model," the group said.
This complaint has lead to French consumer fraud watchdog DGCCRF opening a preliminary investigation into the US tech giant. The Guardian reports that the probe "could take months", after which the case could be dropped or handed to a judge for an in-depth investigation.
Apple, naturally, hasn't commented, but instead pointed to a statement made on 28 December in which it "apologised" for its handling of the throttling issue.
"We have never — and would never — do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades," the firm said at the time. "Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.
Apple ain't just facing legal action in France, as it's already been hit by a trio of lawsuits in the US where plaintiffs are arguing that the firm failed to inform them about the processor throttling and that such enforced slowdowns were unethical and deceptive. µ
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