While facing class action lawsuits is certainly nothing new for Apple, with out-of-court settlements and merit-based dismissal the most typical conclusions of these frequent complaints, it’s not every day that the Cupertino tech giant gets in trouble with antitrust authorities.
Then again, the whole iPhone performance throttling debacle feels pretty unusual for a company that generally prides itself on putting the customer first, not to mention those multi-billion dollar yearly marketing budgets that should really help avoid PR disasters of this magnitude.
Less than a couple of weeks after a French investigation led by the local economy ministry’s consumer protection agency was initiated, looking into Apple’s “planned obsolescence” tactics, the Italian Competition Authority is now also probing the iPhone maker for possibly setting up “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.”
That’s quite a convoluted description of planned obsolescence, but bizarrely enough, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) is also going after Samsung on the same grounds, suspecting the chaebol of similar performance-reducing software update moves.
The European watchdog is pointing the finger at both smartphone vendors for failing to inform their customers of the negative effects of said updates on day-to-day operations and general system speed. Multi-million euro penalties could be handed out if the AGCM finds the two companies guilty of infringing up to four articles of Italy’s consumer code.