Italy Is Now Investigating Apple, Samsung Over Device Slowdowns

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Italy’s antitrust regulatory organization has launched a probe into allegations that Apple and Samsung used software to throttle older devices, according to a new report.

The Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) is investigating the two tech giants due to a slew of consumer complaints of poorer device performance after operating system updates. It’s looking to determine whether or not the performance throttling is being done intentionally to force Italians to buy new devices, the AGCM said in a statement.

Notably, the watchdog group did not specifically mention Apple’s battery-related power management system in its statement, but said that the Cupertino company failed to offer enough information to guarantee users an “adequate level of performance.”

Apple and Samsung are being accused of orchestrating “a general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce consumers to buy new versions,” the AGCM said.

The antitrust body alleged that Apple and Samsung may have infringed on four separate articles of Italy’s national consumer code. If found guilty, the U.S. and South Korean company could face fines to the tune of millions of euros, Reuters reported.

It’s also interesting that Samsung is being included in the AGCM’s investigation. Prior to today, there have been no widespread reports of consumer backlash due to throttling of Samsung’s devices.

Apple’s Battery Woes

In December, Apple admitted to throttling older devices as their batteries aged in an effort to prevent random shutdowns and other battery-related issues. The company apologized following a wave of controversy, but maintained that it has never — and will never — intentionally shorten the lifespan of a product.

In addition to the apology, Apple began to offer discounted battery replacements and promised more in-depth battery health information in an upcoming version of iOS. Apple CEO Tim Cook also revealed on Wednesday that users could possibly toggle the device-throttling power management system on or off in a future update.

Despite that, a slew of lawsuits has been levied at the company — including suits filed in California, New York, Illinois. Apple also faces legal complaints in France, where “planned obsolescence” is explicitly illegal. French prosecutors have reportedly launched their own investigation into the allegations.

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