Apple fails appeal of 10M euro iPhone battery slowdown fine in Italy

Posted:
in iPhone edited May 2020
Apple has failed to overturn a 10 million euro ($11.1M) fine levied against it in 2018 by Italy, after a court rejected an appeal against the findings of an investigation over iPhone slowdowns caused by software updates.




In October 2018, Italy's antitrust regulator the Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) issued Apple a fine, following a probe into complaints about device slowdowns. The allegations, which were also made against Samsung at the time and involved a reduction in performance instigated by software updates, to improve overall device stability.

Apple's 10 million euro fine was formed by two components. The first 5 million euros was the same as levied against Samsung, but Apple had a second 5 million euro fine for failing to advise to customers how to properly maintain or replace their iPhone batteries.

In filings discovered by setteBIT on Twitter and first reported by iMore, Apple's attempt to appeal the judgment was rejected by the Regional Administrative Court for Lazio. Apple offered in its complaint a number of areas it objected to, including claims there were not enough technical tests of alleged damage, a lack of proof, misrepresentation of facts, and a serious error in logic by the investigators, among other issues.

Despite Apple's protestations, the court believed the regulator was right in its consideration that information relating to battery usage and wear should have been made available to consumers. The court also rejected complaints about the regulator's practice in the investigation and prosecution, and ultimately denied Apple the overall appeal.

As part of the ruling, Apple is also due to pay the costs of the appeal's judgment, amounting to 7 thousand euro ($7,773).

Following the discovery of the iOS update throttling, Apple apologized for the decision to implement such a measure, instigated a program that temporarily reduced the cost of out-of-warranty battery replacements from $79 to $29, then added Battery Health options as part of a later update.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    davebarnesdavebarnes Posts: 323member
    OMG!
    Apple is dead!
    How will they ever pay a €10M fine?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 14
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,995member
    OMG!
    Apple is dead!
    How will they ever pay a €10M fine?
    More than the amount, it is the symbolic angle that is important here. 

    Apple goofed with its communication (as it often does) and if there is a complaint placed against some Apple (or any other vendor) where lack of communication (or clear communication) is deemed to be in play, it runs far higher risks. 

    Case in point, the truly wireless earbuds industry could be in for a whack if someone were to complain that they were never fully and clearly informed of the 'disposable' nature of the devices.

    An asterisk pointing to some greyed out text at the foot of the product page would probably not satisfy any consumer organisations. 


    muthuk_vanalingamprismaticselijahgchemengin1
  • Reply 3 of 14
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,571member
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. Tru the update and if you don’t like then simply go back. Which is, of course, possible today, but seems to hard to do for the everyday user. Plus, be might enter the discussion, to what extent security update need to be issued and how long for free. 

    On a side note: this has the taste of many “regulatory” decisions to foster “user friendliness” etc. that create a sense of something along the lines of “if you don’t like our shit, just go elsewhere. But don’t tell me how to design my device, what features it has to have, Who can repair what, how the charger has to look like and so on. What is this, frickin communism?” in other words: I get the impression that more and more people who should stay out of “my business” think they need to meddle with it. 
  • Reply 4 of 14
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,995member
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. Tru the update and if you don’t like then simply go back. Which is, of course, possible today, but seems to hard to do for the everyday user. Plus, be might enter the discussion, to what extent security update need to be issued and how long for free. 

    On a side note: this has the taste of many “regulatory” decisions to foster “user friendliness” etc. that create a sense of something along the lines of “if you don’t like our shit, just go elsewhere. But don’t tell me how to design my device, what features it has to have, Who can repair what, how the charger has to look like and so on. What is this, frickin communism?” in other words: I get the impression that more and more people who should stay out of “my business” think they need to meddle with it. 
    You raise a valid point. The ability to effortlessly roll back an update would be a godsend for many who get bitten by changes that impact their work flows. 
    muthuk_vanalingamprismatics
  • Reply 5 of 14
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,726member
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. Tru the update and if you don’t like then simply go back. Which is, of course, possible today, but seems to hard to do for the everyday user. Plus, be might enter the discussion, to what extent security update need to be issued and how long for free. 

    On a side note: this has the taste of many “regulatory” decisions to foster “user friendliness” etc. that create a sense of something along the lines of “if you don’t like our shit, just go elsewhere. But don’t tell me how to design my device, what features it has to have, Who can repair what, how the charger has to look like and so on. What is this, frickin communism?” in other words: I get the impression that more and more people who should stay out of “my business” think they need to meddle with it. 
    I would strongly disagree. Then we would have a myriad of iOS versions for developers to contend with, the same fragmentation the other platform experiences. Apps designed to run on current iOS versions might simply not work on older versions or that the developers would have to spend precious time and money keeping thier apps compatible with every damn point release of iOS ad infinitum.   We already have ranting and raving about things working or not working on which or what version of whatever. I fully support Apple's motives to push users on the latest versions and I truly believe this is an issue only for the fake techies rag on. 
    edited May 2020 apple ][watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 14
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,995member
    lkrupp said:
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. Tru the update and if you don’t like then simply go back. Which is, of course, possible today, but seems to hard to do for the everyday user. Plus, be might enter the discussion, to what extent security update need to be issued and how long for free. 

    On a side note: this has the taste of many “regulatory” decisions to foster “user friendliness” etc. that create a sense of something along the lines of “if you don’t like our shit, just go elsewhere. But don’t tell me how to design my device, what features it has to have, Who can repair what, how the charger has to look like and so on. What is this, frickin communism?” in other words: I get the impression that more and more people who should stay out of “my business” think they need to meddle with it. 
    I would strongly disagree. Then we would have a myriad of iOS versions for developers to contend with, the same fragmentation the other platform experiences. Apps designed to run on current iOS versions might simply not work on older versions or that the developers would have to spend precious time and money keeping thier apps compatible with every damn point release of iOS ad infinitum.   We already have ranting and raving about things working or not working on which or what version of whatever. I fully support Apple's motives to push users on the latest versions and I truly believe this is an issue only for the fake techies rag on. 
    Developers already set minimum requirements which aren't limited to the latest and greatest system.

    Having users all on the current system would be fine if OS updates didn't break things from the previous release but that isn't going to happen (ever) while Apple remains on a yearly upgrade path. That is without touching on non-bug related issues like features that are dropped or system-wide changes which actively stop apps from working. 

    The best option is for the user to decide and if things screw up, let them effortlessly roll the update back. None of that re-installing the entire system from a backup lark.

    Sometimes bugs are so stupid and unforeseeable that you get bitten. 

    Years ago ALL of my smart search folders got borked by Apple because someone made a bad localisation error and 'translated' a string that should never have been translated. That issue never got fixed and I promptly dumped iPhoto and smart searches forever. 
    edited May 2020
  • Reply 7 of 14
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 9,233member
    lkrupp said:

    I would strongly disagree. Then we would have a myriad of iOS versions for developers to contend with, the same fragmentation the other platform experiences. Apps designed to run on current iOS versions might simply not work on older versions or that the developers would have to spend precious time and money keeping thier apps compatible with every damn point release of iOS ad infinitum.   We already have ranting and raving about things working or not working on which or what version of whatever. I fully support Apple's motives to push users on the latest versions and I truly believe this is an issue only for the fake techies rag on. 
    I agree. I'm not a programmer or a developer or Apple, but it seems like plain common sense that there will be a lot less issues, bugs, problems and hassle to deal with if users are mostly on the newest OS. There is a lot more work and a waste of time and resources for Apple to support older OS versions and various problems that may be encountered by users who are still using those versions.

    I always keep all of my iOS devices up to date, running the newest updates soon after they are released and I've never encountered any big issues. Nothing is perfect and there will always be a few users who encounter some niche issue, but that doesn't affect the vast majority of users. 

    Apple obviously intends for iOS to be as simple to use as possible, because the average user is simple, they aren't techies.

    edited May 2020 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 14
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,995member
    apple ][ said:
    lkrupp said:

    I would strongly disagree. Then we would have a myriad of iOS versions for developers to contend with, the same fragmentation the other platform experiences. Apps designed to run on current iOS versions might simply not work on older versions or that the developers would have to spend precious time and money keeping thier apps compatible with every damn point release of iOS ad infinitum.   We already have ranting and raving about things working or not working on which or what version of whatever. I fully support Apple's motives to push users on the latest versions and I truly believe this is an issue only for the fake techies rag on. 
    I agree. I'm not a programmer or a developer or Apple, but it seems like plain common sense that there will be a lot less issues, bugs, problems and hassle to deal with if users are mostly on the newest OS. There is a lot more work and a waste of time and resources for Apple to support older OS versions and various problems that may be encountered by users who are still using those versions.

    I always keep all of my iOS devices up to date, running the newest updates soon after they are released and I've never encountered any big issues. Nothing is perfect and there will always be a few users who encounter some niche issue, but that doesn't affect the vast majority of users. 

    Apple obviously intends for iOS to be as simple to use as possible, because the average user is simple, they aren't techies.

    Safari was also a 'simple' browser. Things can be simple but shouldn't be 'dumbed down' and sealed shut. Systems and apps should be as open as the user needs. 

    There is a lot in iOS that is far from simple in fact, and very unintuitive. Text selección and handling (a core use for everyone) was terrible for years and many would argue is still poorly implemented.

    It is true that not using iOS heavily on a daily basis and coming from Android is a jarring experience due to the lack of options available (frustratingly so) but there are areas where iOS is difficult for techies and non-techies alike.

    Taking screenshots varies from model to model and, the last time I checked, required pressing different buttons. Still! 

    Sending files directly to the device in front of you via BT wasn't possible either the last time I checked because Apple chose not to include the necessary BT profile. A profile it supports on my macOS. 

    For years iOS couldn't efficiently handle things like email attachments. 

    For years I had multiple problems getting AirDrop to work. 

    My AppleTV leaves me in Apple hell, refusing to allow me to log in with my AppleID even though the 'issue' is known to everybody that could have fixed it. It then spams me with incessant notices to input codes and promptly buttons down the hatches as too many requests have been generated.

    Things can be simplified down to the basics but not at the cost of never being able to expose more advanced functionality should the user require it. 
  • Reply 9 of 14
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,571member
    Yeah, on second thought I guess you’re right. 
    People would simply complain anyway: either because of progress “Apple slowed down my device” or because of not being part of it as in Apple broke my app” as a consequence of using let’s say a new API, or “I demand a free security update”

    anyway, my main point was the increasing interference into businesses the moment they grow to a certain size. Which is funny, because the actual reason they grow from insignificance into a major player is because of innovation and quality that obviously appealed to the consumers, and which thrived in absence of being “regulated”. From a certain size on this appears not be ok anymore. 

    Maybe it would help to clearly state during purchase what are the features and performance parameters that are guaranteed over lifetime, and which ones are subject to change. Probably not as again: people complain anyway. 
  • Reply 10 of 14
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,416member
    avon b7 said:
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. 

    You raise a valid point. The ability to effortlessly roll back an update would be a godsend for many who get bitten by changes that impact their work flows. 
    To address Wonko: in the case of the deteriorating battery, an "iOS rollback" would have caused your iPhone to crash every time it was under load. How is that (compared to a modest and short slowdown) better, exactly?

    To address AvonB7: professionals whose workflows might be impacted by an update do testing on a spare device, and then implement the update when testing proves there won't be a disruption. So again, a rollback features seems to be unnecessary for most users. In particular, the battery change in iOS was explicitly designed to save users with deteriorating batteries so that it wouldn't "disrupt their workflows" by crashing. No iOS rollback would have helped with that situation, because it was a physical component at fault.

    I'm certainly in agreement with those who say Apple could have made the cause of the slowdown and options for users to replace their batteries much more clear, but they didn't -- and so they went a year taking a loss on batteries instead, and made changes to make the problem more clear to users. IMO, that is more than a sufficient penalty for this most minor of transgressions.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 14
    OMG!
    Apple is dead!
    How will they ever pay a €10M fine?
    It's always about the principle. Maybe courts should start fining them based on a percentage against their market cap, maybe then they would change their habits and we wouldn't have to see morons like you post trash like this.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,995member
    chasm said:
    avon b7 said:
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. 

    You raise a valid point. The ability to effortlessly roll back an update would be a godsend for many who get bitten by changes that impact their work flows. 
    To address Wonko: in the case of the deteriorating battery, an "iOS rollback" would have caused your iPhone to crash every time it was under load. How is that (compared to a modest and short slowdown) better, exactly?

    To address AvonB7: professionals whose workflows might be impacted by an update do testing on a spare device, and then implement the update when testing proves there won't be a disruption. So again, a rollback features seems to be unnecessary for most users. In particular, the battery change in iOS was explicitly designed to save users with deteriorating batteries so that it wouldn't "disrupt their workflows" by crashing. No iOS rollback would have helped with that situation, because it was a physical component at fault.

    I'm certainly in agreement with those who say Apple could have made the cause of the slowdown and options for users to replace their batteries much more clear, but they didn't -- and so they went a year taking a loss on batteries instead, and made changes to make the problem more clear to users. IMO, that is more than a sufficient penalty for this most minor of transgressions.
    On the roll back subject I was speaking in general, not on the battery situation. 

    On testing, It is literally impossible to test for everything, and sometimes you get whacked late in the day. As it is I never upgrade to anything until it has been out for a long while and often don't bother at all. For my needs over time,  air gapped Tiger and Snow Leopard would suit me fine for many things but needing to have certain other elements and getting new systems with a new purchase makes it difficult to 'remain still' . 

    On the Mac side I once got bitten by a terrible Visual Basic breakdown that involved different versions of Office (Windows and Mac) and OSX.

    I was in touch with the Mac Business Unit who were mailing the people at Apple and once again the problem looked to be a localisation problem but tied into the Mac Office VB object model, which had very little to do with the Windows VB object model. The problem only raised its very ugly head when the file was touched by a windows user and came back to the Mac. An OSX update detonated the problem. It never got fixed. Not long after, VB got dropped by the Mac Business Unit but by that time I had given recommendations to kill that project on the Mac side.

    As an aside, It is a miracle that cross platform VB ever worked reliably given the absolutely huge differences between the object models. 
  • Reply 13 of 14
    wonkothesanewonkothesane Posts: 1,571member
    chasm said:
    avon b7 said:
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. 

    You raise a valid point. The ability to effortlessly roll back an update would be a godsend for many who get bitten by changes that impact their work flows. 
    To address Wonko: in the case of the deteriorating battery, an "iOS rollback" would have caused your iPhone to crash every time it was under load. How is that (compared to a modest and short slowdown) better, exactly?

    To address AvonB7: professionals whose workflows might be impacted by an update do testing on a spare device, and then implement the update when testing proves there won't be a disruption. So again, a rollback features seems to be unnecessary for most users. In particular, the battery change in iOS was explicitly designed to save users with deteriorating batteries so that it wouldn't "disrupt their workflows" by crashing. No iOS rollback would have helped with that situation, because it was a physical component at fault.

    I'm certainly in agreement with those who say Apple could have made the cause of the slowdown and options for users to replace their batteries much more clear, but they didn't -- and so they went a year taking a loss on batteries instead, and made changes to make the problem more clear to users. IMO, that is more than a sufficient penalty for this most minor of transgressions.
    It seems legislation does not agree, the “modest and short” slowdown obviously is costing Apple 10M€ in Italy. And 25m€ in France.  And 500M$ in the US....

    Regarding the rollback: after the complaints rose (Spawned by articles rather than real life experiences IMO) Apple introduced a software switch for this feature. So it’s basically there. 
    I meant something different: People expect to hand down once some cash for a new device and then to get over lifetime magic updates for free to keep their device on sync with the latest and greatest. They don’t understand that this is impossible and often leads to compromises, eg leading to a perceived slower performance. What they basically fail to understand are two things:
    a) you buy a piece of tech “as is”. 
    b) Tech itself, such as batteries wear out.
     Legislation appears to side with those people and put more and more penalties in place for “failing to properly inform” the consumer. Or for “planned obsolescence”. “Failed to comply with right to repair”. 
    What is worse (and you can argue in how big letters you need to speed it out on the time of purchase even if the individual user itself would not find this him/herself) is that I see a tendency into how the design needs to be like. And here we don’t talk about fulfilling the standards in terms of health and safety, or energy labeling, ROHS, etc. here we talk about somebody looking over my shoulders in my garage telling me add this connector here, leave out that feature there pretending to serve and protect the consumer while not comprehending tech. 
    And again, this I key happens because I have been so successful that by doing this how I did them I became who I am. No “help” needed. And apart from killing “it just works” and transforming it into an endless list of switchable options and correspondingly long user manuals it is something where I as maker should be the sole decision taker as well. Consumer don’t like it? Vote with your wallet. But don’t pretend you suddenly would have needed to know all these Technical implications and your life is significantly I paired without them, while you are not even aware of the majority of the features your phone actually has and you would never ever have found out about this one if you hadn’t read it in the internet. 
    Obviously not you you. But the average consumer and their “helpful representatives”.   


  • Reply 14 of 14
    elijahgelijahg Posts: 2,555member
    lkrupp said:
    Maybe this would have been a non issue if Apple simply would allow a downgrade to a previous iOS version. Tru the update and if you don’t like then simply go back. Which is, of course, possible today, but seems to hard to do for the everyday user. Plus, be might enter the discussion, to what extent security update need to be issued and how long for free. 

    On a side note: this has the taste of many “regulatory” decisions to foster “user friendliness” etc. that create a sense of something along the lines of “if you don’t like our shit, just go elsewhere. But don’t tell me how to design my device, what features it has to have, Who can repair what, how the charger has to look like and so on. What is this, frickin communism?” in other words: I get the impression that more and more people who should stay out of “my business” think they need to meddle with it. 
    I would strongly disagree. Then we would have a myriad of iOS versions for developers to contend with, the same fragmentation the other platform experiences. Apps designed to run on current iOS versions might simply not work on older versions or that the developers would have to spend precious time and money keeping thier apps compatible with every damn point release of iOS ad infinitum.   We already have ranting and raving about things working or not working on which or what version of whatever. I fully support Apple's motives to push users on the latest versions and I truly believe this is an issue only for the fake techies rag on. 
    Not everyone upgrades right away every time anyway, so devs still have to deal with a myriad of versions, which is why few use the latest APIs because they know a large proportion of their users won't be able to use their app if they do. On that front it's telling that Apple hasn't released upgrade stats for Mojave -> Catalina, presumably because they aren't good.
    edited May 2020
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