Samsung fined $5.7 million for slowing down phones, Apple style

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In a first-of-its-kind ruling, antitrust regulators in Italy said the companies encouraged users to install operating system updates that slowed down older phones, effectively encouraging them to buy newer models.

The antitrust authority said that OS updates 'caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced their performance, in this way speeding up their replacement with more recent products'.

The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) has fined Apple a hefty €5 million (around 8 million Australian) for the controversy around the release of iOS 10, where older iPhone 6 phones were forcibly throttled to avoid random shutdowns on ageing hardware.

It said: "The two companies have induced consumers to install software..." The performance seemed to suffer on devices with batteries in poor condition.

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Since September 2016, Apple repeatedly prompted iPhone6 customers to update the software on their phones to an operating system that had been designed for the next generation model, iPhone7, without alerting consumers that the update could lead the handsets to malfunction, the report said.

Apple got hit with a larger fine because of the issues with battery life that it copped to back in December a year ago.

Both firms must publish a declaration on their Italian websites telling consumers of the authority's decision. According to the AGCM, the Android Marshmallow 6.0.1 update was too demanding for the Galaxy Note 4.

Samsung said it would appeal the decision.

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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".

That's not all the AGCM is annoyed with Apple about, however - it's also issued a second €5 million fine for those universal frustrations with iPhone batteries. Samsung can also easily shoulder a £4.4 million bill and continue with the same practices.

If this all sounds familiar, it's because Apple's "Batterygate" scandal in late 2017 exposed the Cupertino company as doing the very same thing. We hope to see the technical details of the case to determine how the authorities concluded that Samsung slowed down the Note 4 intentionally.

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