Apple and Samsung both under investigation by the Italian government over ‘planned obsolescence’

“Italy’s antitrust organization has launched two separate investigations against Apple and Samsung over accusations of planned obsolescence,” Chaim Gartenberg reports for The Verge.

“The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato, or AGCM, is trying to determine whether the two popular smartphone manufacturers are using software updates to slow down devices in order to influence customers to upgrade their phones,” Gartenberg reports. “According to the group, Apple and Samsung may not offer enough information to customers as to the effects of software updates, and don’t offer details as to how installing them may slow down devices, which it says could violate several articles of Italy’s consumer protection code.”

Gartenberg reports, “Apple is already facing a criminal probe over the battery slowdown issue in France, where planned obsolescence is illegal.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple really screwed the pooch on this one.

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14 Comments

    1. This is an illustration of why we should not let technical illiterates make decisions about technology. It is reminiscent of the feds who assure us that Apple and its competitors could easily design encrypted devices that are readily accessible with a warrant and absolutely secure otherwise.

      New devices have new features, otherwise nobody would buy them. Those features require support in the operating system, or they would not work.

      Owners of existing devices expect some approximation of the new features, so the enhanced operating systems are designed to be backward compatible with recent devices. If the OS did not run on older devices and provide new features, nobody could ever upgrade. They would just complain to the government about planned obsolescence.

      However, the older devices do not have hardware support for those features, so they have to be emulated in software. That takes processor cycles (from an older, slower CPU and weaker battery) that will then not be available for other purposes. The user interface will perceptibly slow. The owners do not understand how reality works. They just complain to the government about planned obsolescence.

      The government, which makes decisions that are not science-based or evidence-based, then goes after Apple et al. for failing to bend the laws of the universe to satisfy the unreasonable demands of its customers. The only way to avoid having your older device slow down is to never expect it to do anything it could not do on Day 1.

      Unfortunately, we live in an age when technical expertise of any sort is dismissed as elitism. That’s why we have a guy with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Husbandry running our nuclear weapons program, instead of a Ph.D. in physics like most of his predecessors.

      1. Maybe we should have computer use be a licensed activity then… /s

        “This is an illustration of why we should not let technical illiterates make decisions about technology”

        I don’t think it’s possible that I could disagree more. These companies must inform, transparently, as to what they are doing to people’s property. From that you can learn and understand why your iPhone 3GS is running like crap.

        It also will show that “fragmentation” exists, always existed, and the honest term is hardware/software requirements.

        This way, they, or their informed sister-in-law could make informed decisions. IT departments aren’t inherently good or bad. They’re good when they are under the owner’s control.

            1. is the consequence and your nine year old iphone 3GS still working. Hmmmm. Nah, let’s go with your idea. Let’s all stop the progress of technology so the all-knowing applecynic can be happy.

    2. You mean there is talk from Italian politicians disregarding the sovereignty of Apple’s home nation and invading based on reports of a WPO (Weapons of Planned Obsolescence) program that will result in hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians from Apple’s home nation while the Italian army massacres the population looking for WPO?

      Naw, not even the Italians are that stupid.

    1. Don’t get too teary eyed by her sob story. Self admitted party girl associated herself with drug dealers. Amercans forget that as a foreigner, she was not entitled to all the rights that the US Constitution guarantees. (Just listen to the armchair experts here on this site, foreigners are aliens who *must* be treated harshly. Then we act surprised if any other nation does the same.) We’ll never know the full story but bottom line, Ms.Knox is free because justice did prevail in the end. Are you insinuating that the US justice system more efficient in any way?

      What’s more, Guantanamo is a shining example of hypocrisy: US officials refuse to give foreigners accused of crimes a trial. Guilty or not, we will never know. The American taxpayers keep funding the prison while the alleged combatants within have no ability to defend oneself against his accusers. Not being on US soil, these detention facilities like Guantanamo around the world dole out inhuman practices that do not follow constitutional law nor the Geneva Convention. America insists that it can declare war on a tactic, but “enemy combatants” without uniforms are not soldiers and therefore America chooses to take the low road and avoid international war convention.

      But you knew all that.

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again….. Apple (and just about any Tom, Dick or Samsung) is damned if they do/damned if they don’t. If Apple had not done anything to try to preserve battery life, people would have complained about battery life. They did try to do something and people bitch. IF the people behind lawsuits like this really looked around they’d have to sue every single car company, home electronics company …. and ANY company that works to further their ‘craft’ by producing newer and better products. I used to do sales in a camera store. Customers would come in wanting to know about a product. In the conversation inevitably I’d hear, “Maybe I should wait for the next/newer model to come out.” IF that kind logic were followed, some people would NEVER end up making a purchase because there is ALWAYS that NEXT/NEWER (better, faster, cheaper, smaller, cuter, sexier, whatever) coming down the pipeline! My original camera (a Pentax MX) from the late 70’s/early80’s still can produce photgraphs. The newer better cameras to followed DID NOT render that Pentax obsolete. I realize that a smartphone is not a camera, but my point is people need to be more aware of the environment of the ‘stadium’ they are playing in!

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