Consumer advocacy group sues Apple over iPhone throttling in four European countries

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2020
Consumer advocacy group Euroconsumer on Wednesday lodged lawsuits in Belgium and Spain over an iOS update that throttled iPhone CPU performance in the name of system stability, with two identical suits planned for Italy and Portugal.

iPhone 6


Together, Euroconsumer's four complaints seek about 180 million euros in damages from Apple, reports the Financial Times.

"Apple pushed updates to mask problems with the battery, knowing it would slow down phones," said Els Bruggeman, head of policy and enforcement at Euroconsumers, adding that European consumers "just want to be treated with the same respect that was given to consumers in the United States."

Bruggeman is referencing a $500 million sum Apple agreed to pay to settle a series of class action suits in the U.S. earlier this year. In March, Apple said it would settle 61 consolidated lawsuits, though it admitted no wrongdoing in releasing the alleged offending iOS update.

U.S. customers included in the class received about $25 per device. Euroconsumer is seeking between 29 and 89 euros per iPhone.

The iPhone throttling issue was traced back to a hardware management tool in iOS 10.2.1 that was included to mitigate negative effects of aging iPhone batteries. In particular, the software was designed to thwart unexpected shutdowns suffered by certain iPhone 6 and 6s devices, but was maintained well into the lifecycle of iPhone 7.

Release notes accompanying the 10.2.1 release stated the update "improves power management during peak workloads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on iPhone." No mention of CPU throttling is made, nor was the management feature detailed in full.

Public outcry prompted Apple to issue an apology for what was framed as a lack of transparency. To make up for the alleged indiscretion, prices on out-of-warranty battery replacements were cut and the company later introduced a battery health tool that allows users to disable the throttling feature manually.

Euroconsumer's claims cover some three million iPhone 6, iPhone 7 and iPhone SE models sold in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain between 2014 and 2020, the report said. The suits take issue with the performance degradation and allude to so-called "planned obsolescence" strategies by which Apple forces customers to upgrade to a newer iPhone by making their current device unusable with a specially designed software update.

Apple's lawyers in a letter to Euroconsumer in August said the company would "never...degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades." Further, it believes the allegations are "factually and legally wrong."

Apple in a statement to the Financial Times said, "Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that."

Depending on the success of the suits, actors in other European countries could follow with their own legal volleys.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    red oakred oak Posts: 986member
    When is the last time anyone talked about an EU tech company?   Skype?   Nokia? 

    Do tech companies actually exist in the EU anymore?


    lkruppSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 18
    zeus423zeus423 Posts: 175member
    Cash grab! Time to get our share of Apple's money!!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 18
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 857member
    Planned obsolescence  versus the realities of battery chemistry. 
    hammeroftruthradarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 18
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,282member
    Literally none of those lawsuits make sense and the fact that apple settled is astonishing. I'd say hell no.
    radarthekatolswilliamlondonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 5 of 18
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 107unconfirmed, member
    iOS 14 on iPhone 7 work better that any new android : faster and safer. So what are they taking about? Apple is the only one that make electronic products that work properly for real during the years. The only thing is to change the battery after few years , and to don’t destroy it and after go to repair it in the Chinese store under your house. If you keep it original , then you will enjoy years of perfect functioning. All android brands become slow for real also without new updates.. so ..
    radarthekatwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 18
    silvergold84silvergold84 Posts: 107unconfirmed, member
    red oak said:
    When is the last time anyone talked about an EU tech company?   Skype?   Nokia? 

    Do tech companies actually exist in the EU anymore? No. Politics destroyed it, and the people is not so creative and free to make business (all taxes). So they actually looking only to make easy money with Us brands (with Us intellectual property) inventing sanctions against. 



    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 18
    I'm from NL in EU and I had never heard of "Euroconsumers" before. They have a slick website. Looks like a commercial lobby group. Where will those $500M go if they can get their hands on it? Not to me I'm sure ;-)
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 18
    red oak said:
    When is the last time anyone talked about an EU tech company?   Skype?   Nokia? 

    Do tech companies actually exist in the EU anymore?

    Surely you jest?


    watto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 9 of 18
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,016member
    I hope Apple fights this.  Enough is enough.  Is this an actual group or just an excuse for scummy lawyers to get a chance at money?
    williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 18
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,569moderator
    It was easy to determine that this was a joke from the start.  All I had to do is ask myself, if Samsung had done this would I have criticized them for it?  And the answer is No.  Because it was a reasonable approach to battery management.  And so the same is true for Apple, without anyone having cause to accuse me of being a sheep.  
    lkruppwilliamlondonDogpersonwatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 18
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,817member
    BTW, US consumers have received jack squat so far.  There was a website you could register at (registration ended in October) and payment will be up to $25 per eligible phone, depending on how many valid  claims are received.  No one has gotten anything yet. 

    I applied for my phones -- not for any perceived throttling, but because they used defective batteries in the 6 and may 6s line that would basically be crap after 2 years.   Would jump from 47% to 0% at once and just shut down. Supposedly the supplier for at least some of the batteries supplied batteries that had some sort of chemical contaminant in them that caused them to fail prematurely.  I had several phones from that Era and had trouble trading them in due to battery issues after a couple years that Apple eventually acknowledged after I no longer had most of them.  I figured this settlement would make up for the loss in value due to their faulty batteries.  All my iPhones have lasted much longer with reasonable battery life of years except the two 6 and the 6+ I had.  

    In general I agree with the posts that the throttling issue is bogus in terms of being grounds for lawsuits and payments.  
    williamlondonSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 18
    That EU "entity" sounds a lot like the patent trolls in Texas. Make nothing, just sue for an income adding nothing to society.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 18
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,500member
    I'm from NL in EU and I had never heard of "Euroconsumers" before. They have a slick website. Looks like a commercial lobby group. Where will those $500M go if they can get their hands on it? Not to me I'm sure ;-)
    I'm in Spain and had never heard of them either. 
  • Reply 14 of 18
    "How dare you try to extend my battery's life and prevent destruction of or damage to my phone!  I'm going to sue you!"

    /s
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 18
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,632member
    Blood is in the water and even the baby sharks are showing up to take a nibble. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 18
    red oakred oak Posts: 986member
    red oak said:
    When is the last time anyone talked about an EU tech company?   Skype?   Nokia? 

    Do tech companies actually exist in the EU anymore?

    Surely you jest?


    Nope.  Go ahead - name your Top 5 EU Tech Companies 

    SpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 18
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 6,500member
    red oak said:
    red oak said:
    When is the last time anyone talked about an EU tech company?   Skype?   Nokia? 

    Do tech companies actually exist in the EU anymore?

    Surely you jest?


    Nope.  Go ahead - name your Top 5 EU Tech Companies 

    https://www.information-age.com/value-of-european-tech-companies-soars-to-e618-billion-123492448/
  • Reply 18 of 18
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    red oak said:
    When is the last time anyone talked about an EU tech company?   Skype?   Nokia? 

    Do tech companies actually exist in the EU anymore?
    Most of them seem to get bought out.  There's lots of small and medium size ones, but they don't reach the critical mass to become one of the giants like you have in the US.  Just because ownership has shifted doesn't mean that Europe doesn't have a thriving tech industry though, lots of R&D happens in hotspots over the continent.
    muthuk_vanalingamjony0
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