Tech giants Apple and Samsung are being fined by Italy's anti-trust watchdog following accusations software updates slowed down older smartphones, which encouraged people to purchase new phones.
Apple was handed a fine of €10 million, while Samsung will have to pay €5 million. The US company was hit with the higher fine for failing to give customers clear information about how to maintain or replace its lithium batteries.
The anti-trust body said in a statement that some Apple and Samsung firmware updates “had caused serious dysfunctions and reduced performance significantly, thereby accelerating the process of replacing them”.
It added, the two firms had not provided clients adequate information about the impact of the new software “or any means of restoring the original functionality of the products”.
What did Apple do?
The statement read: "It has insistently proposed, from September 2016, to the owners of various models of iPhone 6 (6 / 6Plus and 6s / 6sPlus respectively placed on the market in the autumn of 2014 and 2015), to install the new operating system iOS 10 developed for the new iPhone7, without informing the greater energy demands of the new operating system and the possible inconveniences — such as sudden shutdowns — that such an installation could have entailed".
How has Apple reacted?
Apple has apologised for its actions and cut battery replacement costs.
But last year, the company admitted that its iPhone software had the effect of slowing down some phones with battery issues, but it denied having ever done anything to intentionally shorten the life of a phone.
What did Samsung do?
The anti-trust watchdog said Samsung "insistently proposed, from May 2016, to consumers who had purchased a Note 4 (placed on the market in September 2014) to proceed to install the new Android firmware called Marshmallow prepared for the new model phone Note 7, without informing of serious malfunctions due to the greater stresses of the hardware and requiring a high repair cost for the out-of-warranty repairs connected to such malfunctions ".
Unlike Apple, the South Korean company's software updates for its phones have not previously been questioned.