Apple facing French criminal probe for ‘planned obsolescence’ of iPhone

By @chelean on
Apple iPhones
The Apple iPhone through the years. Apple

Apple Inc. is facing a criminal probe in France for its alleged “planned obsolescence” of iPhone. The US tech giant admitted last month that it deliberately slowed down its older iPhone models through software updates.

On Tuesday, Paris prosecutors confirmed that a preliminary investigation was opened last week. The move follows a complaint by pro-consumer organisation Stop Planned Obsolescence (HOP) in December. HOP claims that Apple deliberately slowed down older iPhone models through software update and timed it with the release of the new iPhone 8 in September. The investigation is being led by the Economy Ministry’s DGCCRF, a consumer fraud watchdog.

France is the third country to open an investigation on Apple following Israel and the United States. However, according to HOP, it is the only country in which the alleged offence is considered a crime. BBC reports that Apple could be ordered to pay a fine of up to 5 percent of its annual sales or even could face a jail term.

“The slowing down of older devices seems to have the deliberate aim of pushing Apple customers towards purchasing the new model,” HOP said. The group has called upon Apple to stop the practice and compensate its customers.

Last month, Apple confirmed user suspicions that it had slowed down the older models of iPhones. The company insisted that the software update released for the phones was designed to extend their life and prevent unexpected shutdowns.

“Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge of as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” Apple said in a statement.

In Australia, a Queensland law firm was also reportedly looking into filing a class action suit against Apple for iPhone slowdown

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