Italian Consumer Association Launches Lawsuit Against Apple for Planned Obsolescence

Italian consumer association Altroconsumo today announced that it has launched a class action lawsuit [PDF] against Apple for planned obsolescence (via Reuters).

iPhone slow
Altroconsumo is seeking damages of 60 million euros on behalf of Italian consumers who were "tricked" by the practice, with the lawsuit covering the iPhone 6, ‌iPhone‌ 6 Plus, ‌iPhone‌ 6s, and ‌iPhone‌ 6s Plus.

"When consumers buy Apple iPhones, they expect sustainable quality products. Unfortunately, that is not what happened with the iPhone 6 series. Not only were consumers defrauded, and did they have to face frustration and financial harm, from an environmental point of view it is also utterly irresponsible" said ​Els Bruggeman, Head of Policy and Enforcement at Euroconsumers. "This new lawsuit is the latest front in our fight against planned obsolescence in Europe. Our ask is simple: American consumers received compensation, European consumers want to be treated with the same fairness and respect."

These claims date back to the 2017 release of iOS 10.2.1, which included a feature that throttled the performance of older iPhones with degrading batteries to prevent device shutdowns at peak usage points. Apple did not make it clear that avoiding shutdowns would require device performance to be scaled down, which led to a huge consumer outcry and blowback that's ongoing today.

Italy in 2018 fined Apple 10 million euros for "dishonest commercial practices" for implementing an update that "caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones' substitution."

Apple has maintained that the idea of planned obsolescence is absurd, with the iOS 10.2.1 update designed to make iPhones last longer by preventing interruptions in usage. Following the fiasco, Apple implemented battery health features in iOS and debuted a $29 battery replacement program, but it has still faced multiple legal issues related to planned obsolescence claims.

The prior Italian lawsuit and fine were levied by regulators, while the current lawsuit seeks damages for consumers. Altroconsumo is seeking 60 euros on average for all owners of affected iPhones.

Apple is facing similar lawsuits in Belgium and Spain, and a fourth class action lawsuit is set to launch in the near future. Italy is also currently investigating Apple for improper commercial practices in regard to cloud computing services and recently fined Apple 10 million euros for misleading water resistance claims.

Top Rated Comments

CWallace Avatar
19 months ago
Cynical View:

Apple never should have enabled throttling, instead allowing phones with naturally-degraded batteries to just shut down and/or reboot.

The upsides would be they would have made more money because more people would have either paid for battery replacements at full price or bought new phones and Apple would not have had to pay all these fines and suffering the "bad PR" for actually trying to mitigate the problem.


Non-Cynical View:

Apple should have just made public what they were doing and why they were throttling. I'm sure there would have still been blowback (there always is when you try and do the right thing), but (hopefully) far less then they did by trying to just do it quietly.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dasmb Avatar
19 months ago
You can't win for losing here.

Apple uses the most robust battery technology available at the time, a technology that decreases in voltage as it ages.

Dropping voltage to any chip causes the chip to malfunction In this case, it causes phones to randomly restart under load.

Apple releases a patch that causes phones with reduced voltage to heal through the problem by reducing performance, rather than risking data loss or panics.

This move -- which effectively increases the usable lifespan of the phone -- is used to punish the company for "planned obsolescence."

You guys know what a knock sensor is? It's a little device that every car has that measures the quality of combustion in the engine. If it detects the wrong kinds of ignition, it reduces the fuel/air mixture to prevent too-powerful explosions from damaging the engine. In essence, it reduces performance to prolong the lifespan of the engine. And to my knowledge, no car company to date has been sued for "planned obsolescence."
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
calzon65 Avatar
19 months ago
I think Apple already does a decent job supporting older platforms for many years. At some point, Apple or any other company, is going to "move on" to newer technologies.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xxray Avatar
19 months ago
This is ridiculous. Apple has always offered more years of software updates of any mobile OS. I understand they should’ve been more transparent with the battery situation, but still.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GeoStructural Avatar
19 months ago

I think Apple already does a decent job supporting older platforms for many years. At some point, Apple or any other company, is going to "move on" to newer technologies.
Right, if anything Apple is one of the big tech companies that supports their devices the longest.

Just the technological improvements alone, miniaturization, screen technologies, radio-communication standards, etc. make it very hard for these companies not to produce a new device periodically. That does not mean you have to buy it every year but they definitely will make it, otherwise their competition will.

I think Android devices suffer from early obsolescence more than iDevices. Same applies to Macs, I know people still rocking 2012 and 2013 devices that work decently.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac Prodigy Avatar
19 months ago
And everyone in that class action suit, outside of the lawyers, might get .7 cents each...if they are lucky. Class actions suits are the biggest waste of time. They only get lawyers rich.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

oppo x rollable

Samsung Rumored to Launch First 'Rollable' Foldable Phone Later This Year

Thursday March 24, 2022 5:54 am PDT by
Samsung will add a third foldable device to its smartphone lineup this year that will likely feature a unique rollable form factor, according to a reliable leaker of Samsung's plans. Oppo X 2021 rollable phone concept The existing Galaxy Z Flip 3 and Galaxy Z Fold 3 have been relatively successful additions to Samsung's smartphone family, and the company reportedly plans to ship over 10...
applerefurbishedgoodastwo

Apple's $95 Million Settlement Over Refurbished Replacement Devices Not Being 'Equivalent to New' Moves Forward

Tuesday January 25, 2022 11:13 am PST by
Back in October, Apple agreed to pay $95 million to settle an ongoing class action lawsuit that accused the company of violating various U.S. laws and regulations by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices instead of new devices when repairs were required under AppleCare. Administrators handling the case have now updated the "Replacement Device Lawsuit" website with details...
ipad mini jelly scrolling ifixit

Apple Hit With Class Action Lawsuit Over 'Jelly Scrolling' on iPad Mini

Thursday February 10, 2022 7:56 am PST by
Colorado resident Christopher Bryan on Wednesday filed a class action lawsuit against Apple that accuses the company of fraudulently marketing and selling the sixth-generation iPad mini despite being aware of a so-called "jelly scrolling" defect with the device, according to court documents reviewed by MacRumors. A few days after the sixth-generation iPad mini was released in September, some ...
Kardia Band apple watch

Apple to Face Claims it Bars Third-Party Heart-Rate App Functionality on Apple Watch

Tuesday March 22, 2022 5:14 am PDT by
Apple must face claims it illegally monopolized the U.S. market for heart-rate monitoring apps on Apple Watch, a California-based federal judge said on Monday. AliveCor, a company that that markets an ECG "KardiaBand" for the Apple Watch, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple in May 2021 accusing the Cupertino company of changing the heart-rate algorithm for the Apple Watch to gain an...
iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

Apple's Fines in Dutch Antitrust Case Could Exceed €50 Million

Friday March 25, 2022 10:57 am PDT by
Apple is facing yet another €5 million ($5.5 million) fine in the Netherlands for failing to sufficiently meet recently mandated alternative payment system requirements for dating apps, reports Reuters. Apple has been fined €45 million ($49.5 million) by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) to date, with Apple racking up a new fine each week. The ACM initially said that it...
m1 macbook air 1

Apple Accused of False Marketing and Fraud Over M1 MacBook Display Issues

Wednesday September 15, 2021 1:37 pm PDT by
Apple is facing a new class-action lawsuit in the United States that accuses it of false or deceptive marketing for the M1-powered MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, fraudulent business practices, misconduct in customer support, and violation of consumer law. The lawsuit, filed this week in the Northern District of California, represents Apple customers across the United States who have faced...
apple employees trio

Apple Outlines $30M Bag Check Lawsuit Settlement on Legal Website

Wednesday January 12, 2022 3:28 pm PST by
Apple in November settled a long-running lawsuit over employee bag checks, with the Cupertino company agreeing to pay $29.9 million to employees who were subjected to off-the-clock bag searches, and now details about the settlement are available on Apple's website. California employees first sued Apple in 2013, and in 2015, the case escalated into a class action lawsuit. Employees claimed...
iOS 15

Apple Responds to User Complaints of Battery Drain After iOS 15.4 Update

Thursday March 24, 2022 6:07 am PDT by
Users are reporting excessive battery drain after updating to Apple's latest iOS 15.4 update, claiming that their iPhones are no longer lasting as long as they used to before downloading and installing the newest iOS version. Users have taken to Twitter to voice their poor battery life experience on iOS 15.4, tagging the Apple Support account in hopes of finding a solution. "What's wrong...

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

M2 13-Inch MacBook Pro With 256GB SSD Appears Slower Than Equivalent M1 in Real-World Speed Tests

Monday June 27, 2022 1:57 pm PDT by
Benchmark testing has indicated that the 256GB variant of the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2 chip offers slower SSD performance than its M1 equivalent, and now real-world stress testing by YouTuber Max Yuryev of Max Tech suggests that the 256GB SSD in the 13-inch MacBook Pro is also underperforming in day-to day-usage. The M2 MacBook Pro with 256GB SSD and 8GB RAM was slower than the M1 MacBook ...
original iphone 2007

15 Years Ago Today, the iPhone Went On Sale

Wednesday June 29, 2022 4:43 am PDT by
Fifteen years ago to this day, the iPhone, the revolutionary device presented to the world by the late Steve Jobs, officially went on sale. The first iPhone was announced by Steve Jobs on January 9, 2007, and went on sale on June 29, 2007. "An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are not three separate devices," Jobs famously said. "Today, Apple is going to reinvent the...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
maxresdefault

Video Comparison: M2 MacBook Pro vs. M1 MacBook Pro

Tuesday June 28, 2022 2:45 pm PDT by
Apple last week launched an updated version of the 13-inch MacBook Pro, and it is the first Mac that is equipped with an updated M2 chip. As it's using a brand new chip, we thought we'd pick up the M2 MacBook Pro and compare it to the prior-generation M1 MacBook Pro to see just what's new. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. For the video comparison, we're using the...
iPhone 11 Pro vs iPhone 14 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro vs. 14 Pro: New Features to Expect if You've Waited to Upgrade

Monday June 27, 2022 11:22 am PDT by
With many customers choosing to upgrade their iPhone every two or three years nowadays, there are lots of iPhone 11 Pro users who might be interested in upgrading to the iPhone 14 Pro later this year. Those people are in for a treat, as three years of iPhone generations equals a long list of new features and changes to look forward to. Below, we've put together a list of new features and...
iPhone vs Galaxy Larger

Apple Executive Says Samsung Copied the iPhone and Simply 'Put a Bigger Screen Around It'

Tuesday June 28, 2022 8:59 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern today shared a new documentary about the evolution of the iPhone ahead of the 15th anniversary of the device launching on June 29, 2007. The documentary includes an interview with Apple's marketing chief Greg Joswiak, iPhone co-creator Tony Fadell, and a family of iPhone users. One segment of the interview reflects on Android smartphones gaining larger...
M2 Pro and Max Feature

Apple's Upcoming M2 Pro Chip for High-End MacBook Pro and Mac Mini Will Reportedly Be 3nm

Monday June 27, 2022 7:31 am PDT by
TSMC will manufacture Apple's upcoming "M2 Pro" and "M3" chips based on its 3nm process, according to Taiwanese industry publication DigiTimes. "Apple reportedly has booked TSMC capacity for its upcoming 3nm M3 and M2 Pro processors," said DigiTimes, in a report focused on competition between chipmakers like TSMC and Samsung to secure 3nm chip orders. As expected, the report said TSMC will...
Apple 5G Modem Feature Triad

Kuo: Apple's Work on 5G Modem Chip 'Failed,' Qualcomm to Remain Supplier for 2023 iPhones

Tuesday June 28, 2022 9:06 am PDT by
For the last several years, Apple has been working to develop its own 5G modem chip so that it won't need to rely on Qualcomm as a supplier, but according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple's efforts "may have failed." Kuo says that his "latest survey" suggests that development on the chip has stalled, which means Qualcomm would remain the exclusive supplier for 5G chips for the 2023...