In a statement on Wednesday, the Italian competition authority, the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM), said both companies had violated consumer protection laws by “inducing customers to install updates on devices that are not able to adequately support them.”
It fined Apple €10m ($11.4m): €5m for slowing down the iPhone 6 with its iOS 10 update, and a further €5m for not providing customers with sufficient information about their devices’ batteries, including how to maintain and replace them. Apple banks millions of dollars an hour in profit.
Samsung was fined €5m for its Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 update which was intended for the Galaxy Note 7 but which lead to the Note 4 malfunctioning due to the upgrade’s demands.
Both companies deny they deliberately set out to slow down older phones, but the Italian authorities were not persuaded and clearly felt it was a case of “built-in obsolescence” – where products are designed to fall apart before they need to in order to drive sales of newer models.