Italian watchdog fines Apple, Samsung over software updates

Technology

ROME (Reuters) – Italy’s anti-trust watchdog said on Wednesday it was fining Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) 5 million euros ($5.7 million) each following complaints they used software updates to slow down their mobile phones.

A woman looks at the screen of her mobile phone in front of an Apple logo outside its store in Shanghai, China July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Aly Song

Apple was hit with an additional 5 million euro fine for failing to give clients clear information about how to maintain or eventually replace handset batteries.

FILE PHOTO – The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is seen during a product launch event in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., August 9, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Italian consumer groups had complained that software updates for mobile phones reduced the functionality of the devices and were designed to push clients into buying new handsets.

The anti-trust body said in a statement that some Apple and Samsung firmware updates “had caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly, thereby accelerating the process of replacing them”.

It added the two firms had not provided clients adequate information about the impact of the new software “or any means of restoring the original functionality of the products”.

Apple acknowledged last year that iPhone software had the effect of slowing down some phones with battery problems, but denied it had ever done anything to intentionally shorten the life of a product.

The firm apologized for its actions and cut battery replacement costs. It has also said it would change its software to show users whether their phone batteries were working well.

Samsung’s software updates for its phones have not previously been questioned.

($1 = 0.8760 euros)

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Writing by Crispian Balmer; Editing by Mark Potter

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