It looks like government bodies are starting to take notice of the ‘planned obsolescence' allegations often levied at smartphone companies. 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.
If the investigation concludes that Samsung and Apple sent out updates that may have a negative impact on performance without warning customers, then both would be in violation of four separate articles of Italy's national consumers' code. This would result in multi-million euro fines.
In a statement published by Business Insider, a spokesperson for Italy's antitrust watchdog said that Samsung and Apple are suspected of having “a general commercial policy taking advantage of the lack of certain components to curb the performance times of their products and induce consumers to buy new versions”.
Apple in particular has come under fire recently over slowing down older iPhone models. In an effort to preserve the health of ageing lithium-ion batteries in the iPhone 6, performance was actively throttled without warning the user. Apple will be fixing this in the future by giving iOS users the option to see their ‘battery health' and decide whether or not to reduce phone performance in order to preserve the battery. Alternatively, $29 battery replacements are also being offered.
KitGuru Says: The idea that smartphone companies actively slow down older phones in order to push customers into upgrading has been around for a while. However, we've never seen a government get involved. It will certainly be interesting to see how this turns out. Do any of you think that phone companies actively slow down older phones to push upgrades? Or is it just a conspiracy theory?