Apple and Samsung have been fined £10 million and £5 million, respectively, in Italy for deliberately slowing their mobile phones down.
With the Italian antitrust authority launching an investigation in January, it was discovered that certain updates had negative effects on cellular devices.
And it is believed that the companies' purposely causing handhelds to slow down was done in an attempt to have users purchase new phones.
According to The Guardian, a British publication, the tech giants have been made to pay the aforementioned fines for their actions. This ruling is also the first of its kind as it relates to cell phones and manufacturers.
“Apple and Samsung implemented dishonest commercial practices,” the antitrust watchdog said in a statement. The operating system updates are said to have “caused serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance, thus accelerating phones’ substitution."
There were also claims of the companies not providing users with viable information regarding their updates “or any means of restoring the original functionality of the products”.
The antitrust authority started investigations after many users complained around the same time a similar issue was raised in France. The probe is still ongoing over there, with the penalties much stiffer as the French customer protection agency has the power to impose a prison sentence or fine up to 5% of annual turnover for parties found to be culpable of intentionally shortening the lifespan of any product in an effort to increase sales.
The tech giants were both fined £5 million in Italy but Apple was fined an additional £5 million for failing to give customers concise information on lithium batteries, how to maintain or replace them, and the life expectancy of the products.
Apple had also faced questions in the US after they were suspected to have slowed down iPhones. There are several class-action lawsuits still ongoing over the matter.
Meanwhile, the manufacturers were also ordered to display a notice on their websites informing customers of the ruling.
While Apple did not immediately respond to requests for a comment, a Samsung spokesperson said that the company is disappointed with the decision and has every intention to appeal the fine.
“Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4’s performance," the company claimed. "In contrast, Samsung has always released software updates enabling our customers to have the best experience possible.”
Apple and Samsung are two of the biggest cell phone manufacturing companies around and that they were both accused and fined for this breach of trust is quite disappointing. While both entities maintain innocence, it is very likely that there was some form of evidence to prompt such a decision.