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Italy drags Samsung into ‘planned obsolescence’ row with official antitrust probe

Italy drags Samsung into ‘planned obsolescence’ row with official antitrust probe

ITALY’S ANTITRUST WATCHDOG has opened an investigation into Apple and Samsung over allegations of planned obsolescence.

The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) has announced that, following consumer complaints, it’s launching two separate probes into the smartphone giants over their alleged use of software updates to slow down devices in a bid to push people to buy new smartphones.

The watchdog is accusing Apple and Samsung 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.”

Doing so infringes on several articles of Italy’s consumer codes, according to AGCM, and Apple and Samsung could be fined millions if found guilty. 

It’s no surprise that AGCM is casting its critical eye over Apple, as the company confirmed last year confirmed that it throttles the performance of older iPhone models with degraded batteries, a move which has already lead to questioning from Chinese, French and US authorities.

A South Korean consumer this week also filed a criminal complaint against Apple CEO Tim Cook over iPhone slowdowns, Reuters reports, accusing the firm of “destruction of property and fraud.”

Italy’s investigation also comes just a day after Cook announced that Apple will offer users the ability to disable performance throttling with a future iOS update

“We’re gonna give people the visibility of the health of their battery so its very very transparent, this hasn’t been done before,” Cook said. “We will tell somebody we’re slightly reducing your performance by some amount in order to not have a sudden restart, and if you don’t want it you can turn it off.”

This is the first time Samsung has been accused of throttling the performance of its smartphone.

However, in light of Apple’s admittance, Android device manufacturers including HTC and Motorola confirmed they do not throttle performance via software updates, while Samsung remained tight-lipped.

Samsung has since denied the allegations, though, saying in a statement to Nikkei: “Samsung does not provide the software updates to reduce the product performance over the life cycle of the device.

“We will fully cooperate with Italian Authority for Market and Competition’s investigation in Italy to clarify the facts.” µ

Source : Inquirer

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