Italy slaps Apple and Samsung with big fines for 'unfair commercial practices'

Italy slaps Apple and Samsung with big fines for 'unfair commercial practices'
Apple may have thought the iPhone throttling debacle was a thing of the past after offering heavily discounted battery replacements and a software update allowing users total control over their “battery health”, but as far as one European antitrust watchdog is concerned, what the company did in response to #BatteryGate complaints was too little, too late.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Italian Competition Authority also decided to penalize Samsung for a lesser-known but similarly unfair practice of rolling out software updates reducing the functionality of some phones.

Specifically, the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer was reprimanded for “insistently proposing” Galaxy Note 4 users they install the Android Marshmallow firmware back in 2016, which ended up causing “serious malfunctions” by pushing the outdated hardware beyond its limits.

Adding insult to injury, Italy’s non-governmental competition regulator discovered in its “complex investigation” that Samsung overcharged those affected by the Marshmallow glitch for out-of-warranty repairs. As such, the company now needs to cough up a fine of around $5.7 million (5 million euros).

While that is the maximum penalty the Italian Competition Authority is authorized to impose for mischievous practices of this sort, Apple will actually have to pay a double fine. That’s because the Cupertino-based tech giant was found guilty on two counts of consumer deception. 

The first is obvious, relating to the random system shutdowns experienced by iPhone 6 and 6s owners after “upgrading” to iOS 10, which Apple initially choose to contain by limiting the devices’ performance without properly informing users. 

The company was always suspected of employing so-called “planned obsolescence” tricks to boost the sales of its newer handsets, which Italy’s antitrust watchdog strongly believes were at play here.

In addition to that, Apple failed to correctly and adequately inform consumers about “some essential characteristics of the batteries, such as their average life and deterioration.” The proper way to “maintain, verify, and replace” iPhone batteries in order to conserve the “full functionality of the devices” was not made clear enough in relation to the 6 and 6s lineup, resulting in a total penalty of 10 million euros, or $11.4 million.

That’s not exactly something that’s going to bankrupt the world leader of smartphone profits, but in terms of brand perception, it could be quite damaging.

source: Italian Competition Authority (translated) via Reuters

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26 Comments

1. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

This is good news. Old example but I remember how my iPod Touch 4 was basically rendered useless after a couple of software updates. It became ridiculously slow and the battery only lasted about a 1/3 of what it did beforehand.

8. dimas

Posts: 3347; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Be careful, applelogists will just say that you're imagining things.

14. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

LOL How many times I warned you, not to upgrade the OS more than once, after buying new phone????? But you all mocked at me. And you like sheep 'We want every new OS update/upgrade'

21. sebbellic01

Posts: 305; Member since: May 03, 2016

This was 6/7 years ago...

2. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

This BS. Europe is so jealous of other countries who are innovative and changing the world for good. Trump should not back down on these kind of low blow tactics by European idiots to intimidate OEMs.

7. dimas

Posts: 3347; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

For real? You and monkeyb must be sharing the same genes, and I'm guessing it's not homo sapiens'. All hail the might silver fruit!

15. SIGPRO

Posts: 2815; Member since: Oct 03, 2012

Dude please leave your fruit company minded cave! This is good new for us the customers! Companies who cheat like this should be punished! What can Mr Mushroom do? He can't do anything right, U.S is not the boss of this world remember that!

3. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

I do not know how to take this. People suffered because of this and countries are making money by suing Apple? Where were all these countries all these years? Minus the recent phones, almost all iPhones till iPhone 6 have drastically slowed down with software updates in the name of new features. Apple should have been fined long back for not letting consumers downgrade to older OS if they felt their phones slowed down. Security patches need to be separated from remaining software updates. If Apple needs to give anyone money, it is to its customers not to governments who wake up after a decade.

6. dimas

Posts: 3347; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

"People suffered because of this and countries are making money by suing Apple?" Wow, with your statements, you really are an apple's monkey.

10. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

Dont even know why people like you comment. Read my entire comment before you post sh*t. I said Apple is at fault like many times in my comment and you think you are clever by pointing to one line. And you did not have the basic sense to respond to my questions. It shows you are a blind Apple hater who has no other views.

4. NarutoKage14

Posts: 1318; Member since: Aug 31, 2016

Apple's brand won't be damaged. They're like cigarettes, you know they're lying to your face but you keep buying and using them anyways.

18. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

LOL. This one is really good. I am totally one of those guys who fall into the category you mentioned. Apple does and tells a lot of s**t in their interviews but I still love my iPhone so I continue to use their products. Keeping that aside. I think they do whatever is best for their shareholders rather than their customers. And as a for profit company, I think they are doing a fantastic job.

22. Trex95

Posts: 2380; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

What did they lie about it?!.

25. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

I don't think they lie. But they definitely talk a lot of BS. Example: When asked about how expensive their products are, Cook replies saying the same old "if you can buy a cup of coffee a day for the entire year, you can afford this" or "We are expensive because we are worth it". As much as I don't like them telling this crap. I still like my iPhone at the end of the day and I use it.

23. Trex95

Posts: 2380; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Yeah exactly like android updates lol.

5. dimas

Posts: 3347; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

So planned obsolescence is not just some conspiracy or user's paranoia, it is proven to be real. Where are the applelogist saying that their beloved fruit don't do it? Same with samsung minions, you keep blabbing about samsung's "commitment" to service but Italy's anti-trust investigations shaming both of your tech gods. Be a tech lover, not a blind follower.

9. Tipus

Posts: 851; Member since: Sep 30, 2016

GOOD :))

11. Peaceboy

Posts: 640; Member since: Oct 11, 2018

More and more are desperate to get the cash pile. Apples trottling is for the sake of phone to be useful in times of need. It would be a disaster like android phone to surprisely shutting down because of poor battery performance when the phone age 3 or more years.

13. slim3bdo

Posts: 173; Member since: Jun 05, 2017

What sh*t are u smoking Apple iPhones 6 and 6s shut down at 40% with almost 1 year Apple throttling is to force ppl into buying new garbage iPhones that will last for a year or a year and half .

16. apple-rulz

Posts: 2027; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Greedy Samsung, oops I mean innovative Samsung LMFAO https://www.sammobile.com/2018/10/24/samsung-fined-slowing-down-phones-updates/

19. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

While I do not disagree with your comment. You do know the article blasts Apple more?? A statement from the article you posted: "Apple has received double the fine due to both planned obsolescence and failing to tell consumers about the “essential” characteristics of the lithium batteries in its phones."

20. apple-rulz

Posts: 2027; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

Only reason is because Apple has much deeper pockets than Samsung.

24. Trex95

Posts: 2380; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

Both has much deeper pockets, but Italy are hungry lol.

26. monkeyb

Posts: 409; Member since: Jan 17, 2018

I still strongly feel that if anyone has to be get money, it is the consumers who got affected and not countries trying to make a quick buck.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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