Apple and Samsung fined for deliberately slowing down phones with software updates
Smartphones are amazing, but they're also ridiculously expensive. It seems like we go through them way too quickly. Can you believe that after I forgot my iPhone in my swim trunks, and sat in a hot tub drinking for two hours, it stopped working?! You can? Oh. Well... Um... Anyway, let's say you don't accidentally drop your phone or submerge it in water. As time goes by, it gets slower and slower, just like the plot on Westworld. The paranoid side of you wonders, "Are they slowing my phone down on purpose?"
The answer appears to be yes. In Italy, Apple and Samsung have each been fined $6.44 million (€5m) for 'planned obsolescence' of their smartphones. That means they intentionally build the device so that it slows down over time, forcing customers to purchase new models. In fact, the software updates were found to have a detrimental effect. Apple told iPhone 6 owners to install an update meant for an iPhone 7, and users claim it made their phone iSuck. Meanwhile, Samsung told Galaxy Note 4 owners to install an update meant for a Galaxy Note 7, and users complained it made the models more sluggish. You might say that the smartphones became 'dumbphones.' (Nailed it!)
The investigation was conducted in January by an Italian antitrust watchdog. They stated that "Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices" and that operating systems "caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones' substitution." They also roasted the companies for not adequately informing customers about the impact of updated software. Nor did they offer "any means of restoring the original functionality of the products." Shame, Apple and Samsung! Shame! Shame! Shame!
Apple was fined with an additional $6.44 million (€5m) just for sticking us all with that crappy U2 album. Just kidding. They were fined an additional $6.44 million (€5m) for a separate issue involving batteries. Last December, Apple acknowledged they were intentionally slowing iPhones down with software updates. (Those bastards!) The company claimed they were only doing so to prevent wonky shutdown problems caused by the degradation of the lithium batteries. This didn't fly with consumers. So, Apple apologized, lowered the cost of batteries, added battery health information, and allowed users stop the processor from slowing down.
In response to the $6.44 million lawsuit, a Samsung spokesman said "Hey, it was just a prank, bro!" Just kidding. The spokesperson said, "Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4's performance. In contrast, Samsung has always released software updates enabling our customers to have the best experience possible." The company intends to appeal the decision, as this is the first time their software updates have been questioned.
Currently there is an ongoing investigation in France, as well as a $999 billion class-action lawsuit in California. I'm not sure exactly how these things work, but I live in California and I have an iPhone, so I must have big money coming in the mail soon! Time to put my iPhone in my pocket, hop in the hot tub and forget my worries.