French prosecutor launches probe into Apple planned obsolescence

“A French prosecutor has launched a preliminary investigation of U.S. tech giant Apple over alleged deception and planned obsolescence of its products following a complaint by a consumer organisation, a judicial source said on Monday,” Yann Le Guernigou reports for Reuters. “The investigation, opened on Friday, will be led by French consumer fraud watchdog DGCCRF, part of the Economy Ministry, the source said.”

“Apple acknowledged last month that it takes some measures to reduce power demands – which can have the effect of slowing the processor – in some older iPhone models when a phone’s battery is having trouble supplying the peak current that the processor demands,” Le Guernigou reports. “Under French law, companies risk fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales for deliberately shortening the life of their products to spur demand to replace them.”

Le Guernigou reports, “Apple already faces lawsuits in the United States over accusations of defrauding iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Regardless of this French investigation’s merits or lack thereof (good luck proving anything, DGCCRF), what a ridiculous unforced error on Apple’s part!

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26 Comments

  1. “Planned obsolescence, ….defrauding..”

    Easy there ..that sounds presumptuous and biased and has a tone of someone who as an axe to grind.

    F-u Le Guernigou( pardon my french) .. take a chill pill….and prove you case before defameing .

  2. I can imagine someone bringing one of the first Apple Macs, turning it on and pointing out that it’s a 30 year old computer that is still running.
    I have confidence that they are still around, they last longer than the eversteady bunny.

    1. Yes it is true, they still run. But they can’t run Photoshop and don’t support 5K displays, and are criminally non-upgradeable and overpriced! Funny, for decades the rap against Apple hasn’t really changed very much. I do think that’s the origin of the Haters, a race divergent from the rest of the human species, somewhat like H.G. Wells’s Morlocks.

      1. Wrong. This reputation has dogged Apple only since about 2011 when the idiots of Cupertino decided that success of the iPhone and iPad meant WRONGLY that Mac users must also want their computers sealed thin and criminally overpriced. Prior to the death of user friendly Macs, the durability and long term value were obvious to all. Even Windows users that I know used to tip their hats to Apple and say, what a well built computer. Some couldn’t justify the price or needed special configurations or software that Apple never offered, but Apple did have street cred. Now everyone, Mac user or not, is wondering why Apple has abandoned all that made Mac hardware great in the past. It’s disgusting.

        1. You aren’t wrong, and neither am I. Apple have always simultaneously exceeded user expectations and dashed them, with starry-eyed promises that fell somehow short, with wondrous surprises that dejected us later when they failed to make gold out of lead.

          No customer ever demanded a sealed unit, but Steve Jobs decreed that his computers would be appliances like refrigerators. They were always priced higher than other computers and lacked compatibility with them. DOS users, and later, Windows users, did not admire Macs, they despised them.

          What made Mac great in the past is the same as what makes Mac great today, except that Apple pays far more attention to idiot consumer toys like iPod, iPhone, and Apple Watch. And that pisses off dyed-in-the-wool Mac users.

        2. You overstate the concerns. Not “everyone” shares your doom and gloom. Apple has room for improvement, but this groupthink piling on by MDN and some forum members is ridiculous imo. It may be time to patronize other Mac news sites. This one lost its mojo years ago.

          1. I agree. I feel MDN’s attitude has become off-putting.
            They project themselves as capable of running this hugely successful company better than anyone except the occasionally fallible Steve Jobs.

            Their attitude is relentless and completely unforgiving.

      2. There has always been a frustrating amount of obsolescence with Apple products, partly because change is embraced. Moving forward is seen as a good thing, but even the most forward-looking operations also need historical data.

        I’ve had quite a few Macs since 1989 and every one of them was in full working order when I replaced it, often after a very lengthy working life. However in every single case, while they still worked, they could no longer be used in a practical sense because of software issues in the operating system or applications.

        If the OS was upgraded, then drivers for peripherals might no longer work so expensive scanners become unusable because the manufacturer didn’t support the latest OS. If the OS wan’t upgraded, then exciting new applications couldn’t be run.

        However, once the OS was upgraded, previous apps might no longer be functional on the new OS. FileMaker Pro was a particular culprit in this respect and of course FreeHand could only be be used under Rosetta emulation once we moved to Intel Macs and Rosetta is no longer available. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve re-purchased FileMaker pro. I don’t need any of the new features, I just needed FM to keep working on my current Mac as it had become a key element of my business administration. In recent years I have moved away from FileMaker. The other solutions are less convenient and can’t be automated to the extent that was possible with FM, but at least all my recent files should be readable well into the future.

        Filemaker offers free trials of older versions and says that they can be used to open old files, but once 30 days are up, you can’t ever use it again. I converted some less important files once and then a tax inspector wanted to see evidence of my transactions from nearly six years ago and I couldn’t open my files any more as it was long past the 30 day point.

        While I no longer need to do new work on those old applications, I still need occasional access to my old files these days, so it was necessary to preserve ancient Macs solely so that they can be occasionally fired up to open files from previous eras. I find it frustrating that my colleagues with PCs are generally able to run old applications and open legacy files from decades ago, while my current Macs sometimes can’t run recent software.

        I can understand why something like a video editing application needs to be tightly integrated into the latest hardware in order to work flawlessly, but when it’s just a database, artificial restrictions of that type don’t make sense.

        The Mac ( and iOS devices ) are touted as being great choices for business, but an important aspect of running a business is being able to access design documents, contractual documents and financial documents from many years ago. These days I have learned the hard way that documents must be saved as PDFs whenever possible, but I haven’t found a simple solution to opening all my old proprietary files from ten, twenty or thirty years ago. It’s a shame that emulation isn’t supported these days because an old app running slowly in emulation would be a practical way to retrieve those old documents and it’s the sort of feature that Apple should offer as a matter of course.

        1. I really love your post, we share similar insights. My approach to computers has been viewing it in a timely fashion and spending accordingly. When I make a computer purchase I understand that all the hardware and software purchases operate within a limited time window.

          After a certain time the operating system may not run new programs, peripherals, the time window expires.

          It’s becoming more challenging now as time goes on, with so many combinations of hardware and software to keep up, and maintain.

          It’s one of the reasons I don’t mind, and and I expect things to slow down, at least on the desktop side, it isn’t the cutting edge anymore, mobile computing in, and by extension, wearable computers (like glasses and watches). Those upgrade cycles will be faster for sure there, but for the desktop, well less so.

          Thanks again for the insight, very well put.

          1. I embrace change. Moving on is a very important aspect of life, but so is our history and memories.

            I wouldn’t want to live forever if it meant that every so often I had to move into a new body and lost access to all my previous memories and experiences.

            Businesses also need to have long memories. We may be planning for the future, but we also need to retain some recall of we have done over the last few decades.

            I’d be perfectly happy to run emulated apps from long ago even if they ran painfully slow. It would be impractical to do new work on them, but it should always be possible to retrieve information from the past and re-purpose it for today and the future.

            1. In typical fashion I was referring to Apple’s imposition of change. Change may be inevitable, but change need not be abrupt, it need not be urgent without sufficient cause.

              Change need not serve agenda’s with ulterior motives, and yes, change ideally should be mutually agreed upon.

              A special kind of change, which is the antithesis of what I just said is revolution. That too is useful, but needs a really good reason…

      3. That’s true but Photoshop and 5K screens are planned advancements, not planned obsolescence. I’ll give you a wink wink nudge nudge like that.

        One of the popular requirements for a new species/race is isolation from other similar species, either geographically or reproductively.

        In H.G. Wells novel, as I recall the separation was from those who lived on the surface and those who live below. A more modern version would be more along the lines of a group of people, still human, building say living one an island or building a big wall around to keep them away from others.

        That sort of isolation can lead to a new species/race, though quite often the isolation obtains the results by devolution, the loss of traits, like eyes to see the truth or a spine to stand up for what is right, that sort of stuff.

        This devolution is enhanced by a low genetic pool so to help ensure devolution that imaginary group of people would have to either kill or remove portions of their genetic pool.

        Of course the beauty of doing that is the uniformity of the new devolved race/species.

  3. “… deliberately shortening the life of their products …”
    This actually extends the usability of a phone with an old battery. Why don’t those stupid frogs try inventing something themselves so they don’t have to be dependent on the innovation of other countries.

  4. Ok, so is France going after Mother Nature and/or God as well. I get older everyday, and things sure don’t work quite as well as they did in previous years. That sound like planned obsolescence to me, I have been deceived!

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