Apple was given a 10 million euro (£8.8 million) fine, while Samsung received a five million euro (£4.4 million) fine.
In a statement published by the Italian competition authority, it was claimed that “Apple and Samsung implemented unfair commercial practices” and used “planned obsolescence” in mobile devices as a way to provoke customers into purchasing a new smartphone.
Apple & Samsung Fined
Apple has faced previous criticism for slowing down mobile devices. In 2017, the company apologised after it admitted to deliberately slowing down older iPhone models.
The US-based company announced it would replace batteries for less and agreed to release software updates in 2018 so consumers could better maintain battery health.
While Apple admitted to this practice, the firm said it did so in order to “prolong the life” of certain devices. One month following the admission, French prosecutors launched an investigation over the same allegations.
Nearly one year on, the company once again finds itself in hot water with consumers and regulators. Software updates released by the firm, along with Samsung, are alleged to have slowed the performance of older devices.
This, regulators said, caused “serious malfunctions and significantly reduced performance,” which in turn prompted customers to upgrade their devices.
Concise information over the impact of software updates on older phone models was not made available by either firm, authorities said.
Contesting the Decision
Samsung said it was “disappointed” at the verdict handed down by Italian authorities and would appeal in due course.
A spokesperson for the company said: “Samsung did not issue any software update that reduced the Galaxy Note 4’s performance.”
“In contrast, Samsung has always released software updates enabling our customers to have the best experience possible,” the spokesperson added.
Apple was given a larger fine due to the fact the company failed to inform customers over important iPhone battery details, which included how to prolong the lifespan of devices.
In addition to the fine, both firms are required to publish a statement on their Italian websites detailing the decision of the authorities.