Published: Fri, January 19, 2018
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Italy drags Samsung into 'planned obsolescence' row with official antitrust probe

Italy drags Samsung into 'planned obsolescence' row with official antitrust probe

Italy's antitrust authority said on Thursday it had launched a probe into tech giants Apple and Samsung for allegedly shortening the lives of their products so clients would buy newer models. "We will fully cooperate with Italian Authority for Market and Competition's investigation in Italy to clarify the facts".

When Apple first admitted that it had throttled the CPU on iPhone models beginning with the iPhone 6, many thought that Apple was taking a cue from the auto industry and was using planned obsolescence to "force" current iPhone users to update to the latest handsets. This week, Italy's antitrust body confirmed that it has opened up an investigation into Apple and Samsung in an effort to determine whether or not these companies actively slow down older devices in order to push users into upgrading.

Apple claimed that the weaker battery powering affected models might not be able to provide the needed energy if the device was in the midst of performing a complex task.

Doing so infringes on several articles of Italy's consumer codes, according to AGCM, and Apple and Samsung could be fined millions if found guilty.

The California-based group also faces a class-action suit in the United States. "Samsung has led smartphone innovations through displays and will continue to do so while Apple is leading hardware technology through a camera equipped with 3D sensing", said Noh Geun-chang, an analyst at Hyundai Motor Investment & Securities. The company heralded its comeback with its Galaxy S8 and Note 8 models past year, and vowed to increase its presence with the launch of S9 while Apple suffers from the furore over "planned obsolescence". The benchmark KOSPI edged up 0.18% to 2,520.26 on Friday.

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