Italy Fining Apple 10M Euros for 'Dishonest Commercial Practices' Related to iPhone Throttling

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Oct 24, 2018.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Nearly one year after reports began circling about Apple's throttling of older iPhones with degraded batteries, Italy's antitrust authority is now fining Apple 10 million euros (about $11.5 million USD) for "planned obsolescence" of its smartphones (via The Korea Herald). The fine on Apple follows Italy's investigation into iPhone battery slowdowns that began back in January, and the Italian authority is also fining Samsung $5.7 million for similar reasons.

    In a statement, the Italian authority said that "Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices" with their respective smartphones, thanks to operating system updates that "caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones' substitution."


    This is the definition of planned obsolescence, which Apple has refuted numerous times in the past. Most recently, Apple's VP of marketing Greg Joswiak called the idea of planned obsolescence "the craziest thinking in the world."

    According to Reuters, Apple was fined more than Samsung because it failed to give customers clear information about how to maintain or eventually replace smartphone batteries.
    When the reports began circulating in December 2017, claims were made that Apple was deliberately slowing down older iPhones that weren't operating at peak battery performance. In a response, Apple said it was aiming to smooth out the high power draw peaks that can result in shutdowns and other problems in older devices so that its customers had "the best experience."

    Eventually, it was discovered that Apple quietly implemented a power management feature into iOS 10.2.1 that prevents older iPhones from shutting down during times of peak power draw, which rolled out in January 2017. Because the feature was not widely publicized until the accusations against Apple took place, many customers felt deceived by the company. In response, Apple apologized for not better explaining its actions and now offers $29 battery replacements for the iPhone 6 and later until the end of the year. On January 1, 2019, battery replacements will cost $49.

    Furthermore, iOS 11.3 launched in the spring with detailed information about battery health so that customers can know if the state of their battery is impacting processor performance. With the update, the power management feature can also be turned off.

    Over the course of the year, an increasing amount of countries and customers have investigated or sued Apple over "secretly throttling" older iPhones. In the spring, Apple faced more than 60 class action lawsuits over the incident, and these eventually became consolidated in one courtroom in the U.S. District Court for Northern California.

    In an earnings call over the summer, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained that Apple has never done an internal analysis on how many people have bought a battery replacement instead of purchasing a new iPhone, because that statistic wasn't a factor in their decision to offer the discounted batteries. "It was never about that for us," said Cook. "It was about doing something great for the user. Treat users and customers well and you have a good business over time. That's how we look at that."

    Article Link: Italy Fining Apple 10M Euros for 'Dishonest Commercial Practices' Related to iPhone Throttling
  2. swm macrumors regular

    May 29, 2013
    omg - italy - the land where everything is organised and just works.
  3. Brandon263, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018

    Brandon263 macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2009
    Beaumont, CA
    That's odd. Ever since I replaced the battery on my 6s Plus and upgraded to iOS 12, my iPhone has been performing faster than when I bought it in 2014...
  4. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    They were fined for what happened when you installed iOS 10.2.1.
  5. kafka27 macrumors member


    Nov 17, 2017
    That's a good start.. They should be fined with 100 € ... at least.
  6. WannaGoMac macrumors 68020


    Feb 11, 2007
    10m Euros! Tim has that much in his couch cushions :D
  7. redneckitengineer macrumors 6502


    Oct 27, 2017
    Sounds like a quick cash grab. If every country got in on this scam I wonder how much would be leftover at the end?
  8. ROGmaster macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2018
    Wow Cool really? lying to your costumers= doing something great for them.
  9. northernmunky macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2007
    London, Taipei
    Yeah, Italy made the wrong decision. Operating Systems become more resource heavy as technology advances and faster hardware and more RAM go into new phones to take that into account.

    Its just the way technology works. Thats why eventually they stop supporting new IOS versions on older phones. Not for "planned obsolescence", but because the older hardware just plain CANT HANDLE IT!

    And as for the batteries, what do you prefer? a phone that slows down slightly to prevent unexpected shutdowns? Or a phone that shuts itself off randomly making you think its broken and have to replace it?

    The situation is actually worse for Apple if they DONT slow the phones down.
  10. ayvittu macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2016
    Guess Italy needs to brush up their budget after the EU has rejected it.
  11. luigiBoschin macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2010
    Apple Italy just gave my sister in law a brand new iPhone 6+ replacement for a battery recall they had in place.
    VERY dishonest, Italy that is, the country where NOTHING works, now giving behavioral lessons.
  12. cybereye27 macrumors newbie


    Mar 21, 2016
    Not with just 10M...
  13. dilbert99 macrumors 68000

    Jul 23, 2012
    Thats odd, my iPhone 6 has never performed faster than when it was new.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 24, 2018 ---
    Yes, lets discuss Apples bad practices by criticizing those who speak out against those practices. That reminds me of some yellow haired little man.:D
  14. ChrisCW11 macrumors 65816

    Jul 21, 2011
    I don't really get why governments sue Apple or any corporation for money, this is a consumer issue and a consumer lawsuit pays back the consumers that were affected by deceptive corporate practices.

    When a government sues a corporation it's just a cash grab. Nothing goes back to the consumer in these cases.

    Regardless of the merits of this case, the EU countries all seem to be a little loose when it comes to suing US companies and trying to extort them for money. I mean 11 million euros is "petty" by any means, I wouldn't be surprised if Apple has an unpaid tax bill in dispute in Italy that is roughly around 11 million euros so they found another way of getting the money.
  15. BvizioN macrumors 601


    Mar 16, 2012
    Manchester, UK
    Because that's exactly what it is.
  16. Macalicious2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2011
    Phones and tablet have been the opposite. They have long been slowed down by new software without the possibility of downgrading.

    I've had my Macbook Pro Retina since 2012. It's not slowed down and I have the freedom to downgrade OS. Thus I haven't felt the need to splurge on a new every 2 years.

    Why do phones have to be different?
  17. 840quadra Moderator


    Staff Member

    Feb 1, 2005
    Twin Cities Minnesota
    Yep, it’s better that these phones shut down unexpectedly due to overwhelming the batteries. Especially when the user is in a safety or medical emergency.

    I agree that Apple and others should have disclosed that they did this, but I don’t see it as taking advantage of customers. If Apple really wanted to push users into new phones, they would be well within their rights to only do 2 or 3 years of software updates, like hundreds of Android phone models get away with.
  18. 2010mini macrumors 68040

    Jun 19, 2013
    You mean the OS where they told everyone about the feature to make older devices shut down less due to degraded batteries???
  19. lsh macrumors 6502a

    Feb 6, 2012
    Cincinnati, OH
    Totally agree. The only fault I see is Apple maybe not explaining the limits for older hardware.

    Other manufacturers just don’t offer updates unless you get a new phone. That’s why I switched to Apple.
  20. IbisDoc macrumors 6502a

    Apr 17, 2010
    10 million is a joke. That will deter absolutely nothing in the future. Shady business practices for the win.
  21. YaBe, Oct 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2018

    YaBe macrumors 6502a


    Oct 5, 2017
    Beofre bashing my country, you should bash this company for their practices, the political issue we might have or not have have nothing to do with how a company acts (one does not justify the other).

    Can't believe how low some poeple would go to defend Apple, yes it is a great company, but when they srew up they should get called out for, and I am glad Italy did the right thing!
    Wash your mouth before you talk about my country!
  22. IbisDoc macrumors 6502a

    Apr 17, 2010
    Yeah, because actually notifying people that they had the additional option of replacing the battery to restore it to as-new condition would have affected their planned obsolescence strategy. Minor detail.
  23. genovelle macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2008
    Where did they lie? It was noted in the update that no one reads what it was doing, just not in explicit detail. The alternative was stupid, recognize the aging battery caused spikes killing old devices, but do nothing, meaning they get to sell you a new one. They chose to extend the life of the device by predicting the damaging spikes and decreasing conditions to minimize the spikes.

    Offering the cheap battery replacements on devices several years out of warranty was a nice gesture that showed it was not a software issue but instead a old battery.
  24. Plutonius macrumors 604


    Feb 22, 2003
    New Hampshire, USA
    I wonder how many years of sales in Italy to get that 10M back ?
  25. Stig McNasty macrumors regular

    Sep 18, 2007
    I wonder if there is a similar issue brewing with older iPads?
    My 3rd gen iPad plays video quite well, with no stuttering but, trying to get Safari to scroll smoothly is an impossibility.

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