Apple and Samsung heavily fined in Italy for deliberate phone throttling

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Smartphone manufacturer giants Apple and Samsung have been fined heavily by the Italian competition authority after they found that both companies were involved into the “planned obsolescence” of their smartphones forcing the users to buy newer and more expensive versions of their smartphones.

Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) said in a statement on Wednesday that the tech companies had violated Articles 20, 21, 22 and 24 of the Consumer Code. Both companies had issued updates to older devices which were incompetent of running newer software correctly. Thus, the performance of such devices was affected. Some handsets also stopped functioning after the update. Several customers had filed complaints against the tech giants.

The authority claims that the tech companies had done this deliberately in order to force users to switch to newer devices after experiencing problems with their current smartphone.

Samsung had released the latest Android operating system for its galaxy note 4 users. This latest operating system was designed to run on the latest Note 7 devices. For not having compatibility with the note 4, it caused the performance of the older model to noticeably drop.

Apple has been charged €10 million (£8.8m), while Samsung has been fined €5 million (£4.4m). The authority also directed both companies to write on their websites that they have been sanctioned.

The AGCM said both companies “implemented unfair commercial practices”.

A Samsung spokesperson denied the allegations and said that his company had not issued any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4’s performance. He affirmed that Samsung had always released software updates enabling its customers to have the best experience possible.

Apple has not made any comment on the decision yet. AGCM said Apple was fined a much heavier amount because the manufacturer did not tell customers how to improve the lifespan of the lithium batteries despite it was obliged to do so. Both companies had been alerted to deposit the fine soon.