Apple, Samsung face anti-trust probe in Italy over software issue

samsung vs apple
A sales assistant uses her mobile phone next to the company logos of Apple and Samsung at a store in Hefei, Anhui province September 10, 2014 Reuters

Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd are currently under investigation by Italy's anti-trust body over allegations that the world's leading smartphone giants used software updates to throttle phones' performance and force clients into purchasing new ones.

The Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) issued a statement on Thursday announcing the probe, saying Apple and Samsung might have violated four separate articles of Italy's national consumers' code. One is the failure to inform its patrons of the updates that gravely affect the performance of the handsets.

Also read: Apple to add battery performance throttling disable option in next iOS update

Both companies are accused of manoeuvring "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", says AGCM in a statement to Reuters.

Neither Apple nor Samsung responded to media queries regarding the allegations. If found guilty, the two companies may face multi-million euro fines.

In December 2017, Apple was found out intentionally slowing down the performance of older iPhone models with defective batteries before admitting it. The move, as Apple explained, was carried through to avoid sudden shutdowns. It later issued a public apology and offered US$29 battery replacements for the iPhone 6 through iPhone 7 Plus.

Apple chief Tim Cook revealed on Wednesday in an interview with ABC News the company will be pushing out a software update in February that "will give users more visibility into the health of their iPhone's battery".

Samsung, on the other hand, has not been subject to public scrutiny with regards to slowing down phones through software updates.

This article was first published on January 19, 2018