25. Oct 2018

Italian Competition Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, hereinafter: AGCM) announced in a news release published on 24 October 2018 that it had fined Apple and Samsung with maximum prescribed fines for unfair commercial practice which represents violation of the Consumer Code. AGCM stated in its announcement that both Apple and Samsung have induced customers, “by insistently proposing to proceed with the download”, to download software updates “which caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced their performance, in this way speeding up their replacement with more recent products”.

 

The investigation that commenced back in January 2018 was focused on Samsung Note 4/Marshmallow 6.0.1 update and Apple iPhone 6/IOS 10 update.

 

Namely, 5-million-euro fine was imposed to Apple, for insistently suggesting to consumers of iPhone 6 models to install the new operating system iOS 10 (developed for new model iPhone7), that caused unexpected problems for customers, such as sudden shutdowns of their phones.

 

Apple was fined with additional 5 million euros for not adequately informing consumers “about some essential characteristics of lithium batteries, such as their average duration and deterioration factors, nor about the correct procedures for maintaining, verifying and replacing batteries in order to preserve full functionality of devices”.

 

While Apple software update controversy has been under the watchful eye of the public for some time now, the Samsung software update issues have not been so publicized.

 

However, AGCM fined Samsung with 5 million euros as well, for insistently suggesting to consumers of Note 4 to install the new Marshmallow version of Android (developed for the new device Note 7), without informing them of “the serious malfunctions that the new firmware could cause due to greater stress of device’s hardware and asking a high repair cost for out-of-warranty repairs connected to such malfunctions”.

 

Last year, Apple apologized to its customers for the “misunderstanding” stressing thereby that it would never intentionally shorten the lifespan of its products in order to force customers to buy newer phones.

 

On the other hand, Samsung denied all allegations regarding the reducing the performance of their old phones.

 

Samsung said in its public statements that it is “disappointed” with the AGCM’s decision, which it plans to appeal to, while Apple remained silent.