France probes Apple over 'deliberate' iPhone throttling
France probes Apple over 'deliberate' iPhone throttling
French consumer fraud watchdog opens investigation into Apple "planned obsolescence"
10 January, 2018, 09:13
Apple has been hit with a criminal probe by French authorities over its slowdown of vintage iPhones.
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.
A French prosecutor has launched a preliminary investigation of US tech giant Apple (AAPL.O) over alleged deception and planned obsolescence of its products following a complaint by a consumer organization, a judicial source said on Monday.
A French watchdog agency has launched a probe into whether Apple deliberately phased out older iPhones to force customers to upgrade to a newer model, according to global media outlets.
But it insisted it was because the phones' battery performance diminished over time.
Apple has apologised to customers while denying it consciously built in obsolescence, adding: "We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down".
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The investigation into possible "planned obsolescence" or "fraud" was opened on Friday and is being led by anti-trust and consumer protection specialists in the French economy ministry, the source said.
Apple has said that it slowed batteries in order to lengthen the lifetime of its products, and that it would be replacing the batteries of all iPhone 6 and later devices if customers requested.
"First and foremost, we have never - and would never - do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades". Planned obsolescence was declared illegal in France in 2015, carrying the penalty of up to two years in jail and fines equal to 5 percent of total revenue. Consumer association Halte à l'Obsolescence Programmée (HOP) filed the initial complaint and is asking Apple to "compensate" affected consumers.
"With the update, iOS dynamically manages the maximum performance of some system components when needed to prevent a shutdown", the company said.
Meaningful developments in the investigation may take a long time.
The news comes days after Apple confessed to have deliberately throttled CPU performance in older iPhones to extend battery life. It then began emitting smoke, prompting the staff to throw quartz sand on it to contain the smoke and allow it to be ventilated.
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