French consumer fraud watchdog opens investigation into Apple "planned obsolescence"

French consumer fraud watchdog opens investigation into Apple
France's DGCCRF, the consumer fraud watchdog arm of the French Economy Ministry, has opened a preliminary investigation of Apple and the company's alleged deception and planned obsolescence practices.

This, of course, refers to recent findings that Apple artificially slows down iPhones with older batteries. Apple had not admitted to the practice until a user investigation uncovered it and benchmarks confirmed. Apple has only then issued a public apology and reacted by slashing $50 off the cost of its battery replacement program, bringing the price down to $29.

Note that this investigation by the French watchdog is preliminary and it is conducted in order to determine whether the case should be handed to a judge. The preliminary investigation could take up to several months. The investigation starts now, amidst demands from a newly formed French consumer association "HOP", an acronym standing for "Stop Planned Obsolescene".

French law provisions a fine of up to 5% of a company's annual sales if the company is found to shorten the life of their products on purpose in an attempt to boost sales of newer products.

Apple has already said in its official apology that slowing down the processor of an iPhone with an older battery is not done to force users into buying a newer phone, but is instead a fix for unexpected shutdowns of devices with an aging battery because the cell cannot handle more power-demanding applications. The company has also promised to push an update early this year that will give users more details about the health of their battery.


source: Reuters

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34 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

I once said Apple had good intentions with this move...I’m now starting to have second thoughts. I’m leaning towards, trying to force people to upgrade...we know how greedy Apple is.

3. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I couldn't agree more. Especially when problems with their SoCs (A11, A10,...) could be hidden by under clocking the SoC. I don't know if you are familiar with how CPUs and GPUs work darkkjedii, but they operate at a certain clock frequency. Some CPUs, GPUs could fail at a higher clock rates, but if they lower the clock rate then the CPU/GPU or I should say now the SoC would not reboot or fail at lower frequencies. But since iPhone users have no say on the speed these days. Users would never know. Apple could point the problem at a battery. Tell users to come in to get a replacement battery, but then say there was another problem and replace the users phone. Yet this gives Apple time to fix the manufacturing SoC issues. It's shady on Apple's part in any case.

8. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Agreed.

4. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

+1 Couldn't say it any better.

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

This sucks man.

5. maherk

Posts: 6961; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

They never jad good intentions, and here is why I believe that 1- They offered alternative options rather than fix the main problem. They made the batteries cheaper, because they probably have millions that were rotting in their wearhouses. And they didn't commit to not slowing down phones with old batteries, they will keep on going with this business model. 2- The way they built the iPhone 8 and X, with them sandwiching the glass between the metal frame and the camera housing that is welded to the freaking metal housing. That's why replacing the glass back is more expensive than the screen itself. So why did Apple design their latest phones and build them this way? To make it impossible for you to change the battery when it's out of warranty and force you to upgrade.

6. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Well said my friend, that post is an eye opener.

7. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It’s also a turn off to know, they won’t stop this practice. To know they’ll be jacking your phone in just over a year, makes me think twice about buying future iPhones. They already don’t do enough, and now they’ll slow them as well.

35. phonefanboy

Posts: 51; Member since: Oct 06, 2011

My iphone 6s is a joke now... Takes 5-7 seconds to open the camera, 3 sec. before I can start to scroll on web pages, and keyboard typing is the worst.

36. darkkjedii

Posts: 31313; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Damn bro, that’s bad.

12. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Apple didn't make the batteries, they buy buy them. But they bought th3 cheapest craptastic batteries from China. What I can say is since they are using Samsung SDI and LG for the battery in the X, they did this because either they knew they gonna get busted or they actually wanted the device to have a better component. Remember in any phone, the most expe dive parts are the display, SoC, GPU, Nd the rest is fairly cheap. Think of the manufacturing cost of the iPhone 6's, 7 and 8. Only $220. So you know th3 battery wasn't more than $10. After all they only cost $10 on eBay, so Apple load less than $5.

33. sgodsell

Posts: 7451; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

"Remember in any phone, the most expe dive parts are the display, SoC, GPU, Nd the rest is fairly cheap. Think of the manufacturing cost of the iPhone 6's, 7 and 8. Only $220. So you know th3 battery wasn't more than $10. After all they only cost $10 on eBay, so Apple load less than $5." Makatijules you said it yourself which parts are the most expensive, right? So why does Apple charge a ridiculously high amount to replace the back glass of the new IPhones? More than the $220 that you listed. Apple controls every aspect of the iPhone's everyone holds onto, including the speed. Users still have no say. It's like you are here trying to damage control and protect Apple. At the end of the day Apple did a shitty thing, period.

13. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

As far as the design claim. I would say you are wrong. The battery iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5S, SE, 6, 6S, 7 and 8 and even the10 are all fairly easily to replace. Th3 design of the phone is not to make th3 phone harder to replace the battery. The design allows foe the phone to be thinner and in order to do this the parts are no longer modular. Blame That on yourselves begging to get away from plastic modular phones like Samsung use to have which were easier to fix. So don't cry about design now. With the iPhone you remove the 2 screws at the bottom and you use a pry too to. Real th3 real of the waterproofing and you disconnect 3 cables and you can remove the battery. Anyone with decent motor skills can watch a video and do it. Most won't anyway so it don't even matter if it's hard or not. But this is what you all asked for!

24. roscuthiii

Posts: 2383; Member since: Jul 18, 2010

That list sounds just about right; I'd only like to add a #3. This revelation wasn't made out of the kindness of their hearts. They didn't do it to inform their customers. They had no known intention of releasing this information until a user/developer discovered proof and called them out on it.

28. slim3bdo

Posts: 186; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

This is the mail point , totlay agree

26. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Agree , well said

34. truthbetold

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 16, 2015

Let's not forget that even after this whole debacle, they are still charging you a fee to replace your battery out of warranty... I'm pretty sure they're turning a profit on this even with the reduced pricing. Seems to be another proof of planned obsolescence - you could argue that they designed the handset to slow down to make sure you come back and at least replace the battery (rather than get used to charging the phone more often or using a battery bank). And while you're at the store, why not play around with the new iPhone X? It'll feel 15x faster than your ancient, clunky iPhone 7! /s

10. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

I can't see how you were on th2 fence or even on their side. It doesn't even matter if it was the attention. It is a fact that when people have problems with a product, they tend to replace them. That is normal human practice. You are also not considering that people posted in their forum and called, which in both cases Apple could have said, your battery potentially could be degraded, being your phone in to be checked. But they did not. They also didn't put in the changelog in the update that this code was in the update. That right their means they purposely were being deceptive. The fact it they knew slower phones would drive MOST into buying a new phone since they never made the user aware they could have spent $80 and replaced the battery.

18. Techlover2018

Posts: 80; Member since: Jul 14, 2017

A slap of 15 billion going to be pretty hard on Apple face.

20. cheetah2k

Posts: 2271; Member since: Jan 16, 2011

Apple been doing this for a while now. I still remember how my 4S ground to a halt after the first iphone 5 update.. TBH I always thought apple did this (with my tin foil hat on) now I can take it off and its real!! haha This is a larger scandal than the VW emmissions situation. I hope Apple get stung for billions.. Scummy basturds

2. apple-rulz

Posts: 2196; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Apple's lack of transparency regarding this issue was such a stupid move, and it’s difficult to conceive how this slowdown without telling the end users was ever approved. Did nobody at Apple ever consider the ramifications of the scenario we are now seeing unfold?!?? Also Tim Cook not being front and center and right out there taking the hits over this issue is very disconcerting. SMDH

14. makatijules

Posts: 835; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

They don't care. Just like Jobs didn't care. JOBS did the same with several products. He did things like not use heatsinks in Macbooks and the Mac Pro. Apple doesn't care because they know the vast majority of their customers are stupid. And that's stupid as in lacking technical education to know better. One of main the main reasons Apple avoid X86 is bwcause you cannot run the CPU at high temps without the computer slowing down. AMD chips would simply catch fire and burn, whole Intel chips would cause unexpected shutdowns. Any toy that runs on a battery can't run at fun capacity if the battery is low on charge. But the fact they didn't tell anyone about an issue they knew about is pure evil and I hope every country files a suite and they lose nearly ever penny. If the French successfully sue, other will follow.

25. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

"Apple doesn't care because they know the vast majority of their customers are stupid" It's not so much that they are stupid ( Ok maybe a few) it's that most do not know that apple really does treat it fans like s**t because a lot of them never go to a tech site or watch the news. They don't have a clue what is going on. I just asked my 19 year old nephew the other day if he was going to get in on the law suit against Apple and he knew nothing about it.

15. bucky

Posts: 3791; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I hope Apple gets severely punished for this.

16. SomeGuywithTech

Posts: 5; Member since: Oct 12, 2017

Simple solution people. Stop buying apple. Apple is only as powerful as WE AS CONSUMERS make them.

22. Sakeem

Posts: 862; Member since: Sep 05, 2012

True. I have a feeling this will be glossed over and forgotten about in a few months. All will be forgiven and their bottom line will not be affected in the slightest.

19. robocopvn

Posts: 504; Member since: Mar 10, 2010

Battery degrading is natural. So if you design anything to make performance equivalent with battery degrading level, I call this planned obsolescence.

23. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Apple had doing throttle CPU for years, I notice it since iPhone 5 the thing just getting slow on every update. Now She getting caught doing it, it is good someone finally monitor it keep all OEM on their toe, not pull a fast one again. And I hope many more country enforce this notion.

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