Apple and Samsung fined for slowing down phones with updates

Apple’s new iPhone XS Max and Samsung’s Note 9. Both smartphone makers were fined for software updates Italian regulators say slowed older phones.

Josh Miller/Techhnews

Apple and Samsung were fined on Wednesday for software updates that Italy’s antitrust watchdog says slowed down users phones.

The Italian Competition Authority, or AGCM, fined Apple and Samsung 5 million euros (about $5.6 million) each for releasing software updates that “significantly reduced” the performance of phones, the authority said in a release. This pushed consumers to buy new devices, according to AGCM. Apple was fined an additional 5 million euros for failing to provide adequate information on how to maintain and replace phone batteries.

Last December, Apple admitted that it slows down older iPhones to offset battery problems. The company has denied this is done in order to get customers to buy new models.

Both smartphone makers were also ordered to publish a declaration on the Italian page of their websites informing consumers about AGCM’s decision.

“We are disappointed with the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) decision,” said Samsung in an email statement. “Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4’s performance. In contrast, Samsung has always released software updates enabling our customers to have the best experience possible. We will take necessary legal actions to appeal the ICA’s decision.”

Apple didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. 

First published on Oct. 24, 10:03 a.m. PT.

Updates, 10:47 a.m. PT: Adds Samsung statement. 

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