Italy's Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM ) has fined Apple, the Italian anti-trust authority, fined Apple and Samsung €5 million ($5.7 million) each for slowing down their users' smartphones using software updates, as reported by Reuters.
Apple was also fined an extra €5 million ($5.7 million) for not informing their customers about their phone batteries' "average duration and deterioration factors", as well as about maintenance and replacement procedures.
"The two companies have induced consumers – by insistently proposing to proceed with the download and also because of the significant information asymmetry of consumers vis-a-vis the producers – to install software updates that are not adequately supported by their devices, without adequately informing them, nor providing them an effective way to recover the full functionality of their devices," according to AGCM's press release.
As described by the Italian watchdog, Apple asked iPhone 6/6Plus and 6s/6sPlus owners to update to iOS 10, an operating system optimized for the iPhone 7 smartphone, but failing to inform them that the new OS would also come with higher energy demands which could lead to unexpected shutdowns.
Besides the fines received from AGCM, Apple and Samsung are also required to publish official statements regarding the resolution
To mitigate this issue, Apple released iOS 10.2.1 in February 2017, again failing to inform their users that this update "could reduce the speed of execution and functionality of devices."
Despite the apparent issues experienced by customers who bought the iPhone 6 and 6s series, Apple did not offer any support until December 2017 when it introduced a program which would allow owners of iPhones affected by the iOS 10.2.1 update to replace their batteries at a discounted price.
Samsung, in turn, promoted an updated optimized for the Note 7 device to Note 4 users, failing to inform them about the hardware issues that the Note 7 firmware would cause once installed on their Note 4 smartphones and subsequently asking for a "high repair cost for out-of-warranty repairs connected to such malfunctions."
Italy's AGCM sanctioned both companies with the maximum possible amount given the seriousness of their behavior and had also demanded from both Apple and Samsung to publish official announcements on their Italian websites about the contents of the resolution, as well as provide a direct link to allow customers to read the press release.