French watchdog fines Apple $27 million for slowing down older iPhones
And not telling peopleBy Rob Thubron 13 comments
What just happened? Remember when Apple in 2017 admitted it throttled the performance of iPhones with older batteries? The company has just been fined $27 million by the French government for not informing owners about what it was doing.
Following an investigation at the time that suggested a link between the performance capabilities of an iPhone and the age of its battery, Apple said it had released a patch for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE, and iPhone 7 that did slow them down. While some claimed this was planned obsolescence, the company said throttling the speed of the devices kept them working longer.
"Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components," Apple wrote in 2017. It also offered a battery replacement program, which saw 11 million people pay $29 for a new component instead of the previous $79.
France's Competition and Fraud body, the DGCCRF, still holds Apple accountable for not informing owners of what was going on, which it says: "constituted a misleading commercial practice by omission."
"The DGCCRF has indeed shown that iPhone owners had not been informed that the updates of the iOS operating system (10.2.1 and 11.2) they installed were likely to slow down the operation of their device," the watchdog wrote in a press release.
Apple hasn't contested the decision, and it must display a banner on Apple France's iPhone page for one month stating it had misled customers, and that it has paid a fine.
In response to the DGCCRF's announcement, Apple wrote: "Our goal has always been to create secure products appreciated by our clients, and making iPhones that last as long as possible is an important part of that."