MAMMA MIA! Italy's antitrust watchdog has fined both Apple and Samsung for the "planned obsolescence" of their smartphones.
The antitrust body has slapped Apple with a €10m for its deliberate slowing down of older iPhones, Reuters reports, while Samsung has been hit with a lesser €5m fine. Both firms must publish a declaration on their Italian websites telling consumers of the authority's decision.
The watchdog said in a statement that "Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices" that "caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly, thereby accelerating the process of replacing them."
It added the two firms had not provided clients adequate information about the impact of the new software "or any means of restoring the original functionality of the products."
The Italian antitrust authority opened its investigation in January after consumer groups had complained that software updates for mobile phones reduced the functionality of the devices.
Samsung was telling owners of its Note 4 phone to install an update intended for the more recent Note 7 but which rendered the old model sluggish; while Apple urged iPhone 6 owners to install an OS update destined for the iPhone 7 that caused the older handset to unexpectedly shut down.
Apple and Samsung have yet to comment on the Italian watchdog's decision. However, Apple spoke out about its iPhone-borking software updates last year, claiming it had released them to preserve the battery health of older iPhone models.
"Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components," it said at the time.
Apple subsequently offered discounted battery replacements, alongside the ability to switch off so-called iPhone throttling.
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