Italian consumer group sues Apple for alleged planned obsolescence

Posted:
in General Discussion
Italian consumer group Altroconsumo has launched a class action lawsuit against Apple claiming that it practiced planned obsolescence with an update that slowed down iPhone devices.

Credit: Apple
Credit: Apple


Altroconsumo says it is asking for damages of 60 million euros on behalf of iPhone customers in Italy, Reuters reported. The lawsuit covers owners of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s lineups, of which around 1 million were sold between 2014 and 2020.

In a statement to Reuters, Apple said that it has never done anything to intentionally shorten the lifespan of its products to drive customers to buy new devices.

The lawsuit in Italy follows two similar complaints lodged in Belgium and Spain back in December 2020. All complaints are being coordinated by consumer association Euroconsumers, which is also planning a lawsuit in Portugal.

"This new lawsuit is the latest front in our fight against planned obsolescence in Europe. Our ask is simple: American consumers received compensation, European consumers want to be treated with the same fairness and respect," said Els Bruggeman, head of policy and enforcement at Euroconsumers.

Bruggeman is referring to Apple's settlement of consolidated lawsuits in the U.S. In 2020, Apple said it would pay up to $500 million to settle a slew of lawsuits in the U.S. that were levied because of iPhone battery slowdowns.

The throttling issue at the heart of the legal actions came about in iOS 10.2.1. The feature mitigated the issues with aging iPhone batteries by improving power management during peak workloads, staving off unexpected shutdowns.

In the wake of the controversy following the feature's discovery, Apple cut prices on out-of-warranty battery replacements and introduced new battery health features in iOS.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,768member
    Claiming planned obsolescence in an era of breakneck technological growth is a very hard story to sell.  It is so easy to demonstrate how keeping up with the rate of improvement in hardware unavoidably impacts the performance of older devices because they cannot handle the requirements of new or updated apps that have been optimized for the newer phones.  Apple can also argue that phone throttling was actually an effort (that yes, turned out in the end to be misguided) to slow down obsolescence in older iPhone models.
    sdw2001killroyjas99command_frazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 20
    This lawsuit can be pointed at every manufacturer of home appliances and have worth. I have 14 year old Apple devices still doing what they can given the changing demands.
    killroyjas99williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 20
    uraharaurahara Posts: 585member
    The funny (and sad) thing is that those people might actually believe the story they are trying to sell. They think they are right. 
    Critical thinking is a skill. Not everyone is skillful. 
    killroyjas99razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 20
    Throttling wasn't misguided, as it was a good solution to prevent phones from crashing due to older batteries being unable to keep up with the load. There is nothing any manufacture could do to prevent the wear on the batteries and to keep up with the load. This isn't planned obsolescence, but a solution to enable the phones to have a longer life. IE the opposite of planned obsolescence. The mistake is Apple didn't tell people it was doing it and people scrutinize Apple more. I'm sure all manufactures do throttling. I'm not sure if any other manufacture tells users they throttle or allow users to disable throttling. Then again, this may not show up as much in other manufactures, due to the short amount of time OS can be updated.
    sdw2001killroyjas99command_fwilliamlondonrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,896member
    This lawsuit can be pointed at every manufacturer of home appliances and have worth. I have 14 year old Apple devices still doing what they can given the changing demands.
    This is true but it is about time consumers were informed of what is going on with some devices and given options to fight back. 

    There have been numerous cases of questionable design decisions at Apple which have had a deep impact on product reliability. 

    I have been following the late 2009, 27inch i7, Radeon graphics card failures with interest.

    IMO there is definitely a problem to be looked at here. That, added to the practice of replacing failed components with the exact same components that are known to have problems should be dealt with at some level.

    Not just Apple of course, but huge swathes of CE devices from all manner of manufacturers. 

    Sometimes it's the 'consumable' side of products too, without which the product has reduced functional capacity. Racks and drawers on fridges and freezers for example that often need replacing. 

    It's very complex and right to repair is also mixed in with this but it's high time someone took a long hard look at this at a government level. 

    Information is always good. 


    elijahgmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 6 of 20
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,768member
    Throttling wasn't misguided, as it was a good solution to prevent phones from crashing due to older batteries being unable to keep up with the load. 
    It was misguided only in that they were not up front with what they were doing.  They could have just told the truth and announced beforehand 'We are doing this to help extend the usefulness of your phone. It is not a perfect solution but there is only so much we can do to fend off the effects of rapid technological growth.  If you are dissatisfied with this solution, there is an option to opt out.'  I bet most people would appreciate the candor.

    Why well-meaning people and institutions these days quickly rule out the simple approach of just telling the truth baffles me no end.
    edited January 25 AI_liaswilliamlondonbeowulfschmidtwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 20
    tundraboy said:
    Throttling wasn't misguided, as it was a good solution to prevent phones from crashing due to older batteries being unable to keep up with the load. 
    It was misguided only in that they were not up front with what they were doing.  They could have just told the truth and announced beforehand 'We are doing this to help extend the usefulness of your phone. It is not a perfect solution but there is only so much we can do to fend off the effects of rapid technological growth.  If you are dissatisfied with this solution, there is an option to opt out.'  I bet most people would appreciate the candor.

    Why well-meaning people and institutions these days quickly rule out the simple approach of just telling the truth baffles me no end.
    Yes as I said in my previous comment. There will be people who will not understand this and will still complain. 
    killroyjas99williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 20
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,666member
    avon b7 said:
    This lawsuit can be pointed at every manufacturer of home appliances and have worth. I have 14 year old Apple devices still doing what they can given the changing demands.
    This is true but it is about time consumers were informed of what is going on with some devices and given options to fight back. 

    There have been numerous cases of questionable design decisions at Apple which have had a deep impact on product reliability. 

    I have been following the late 2009, 27inch i7, Radeon graphics card failures with interest.

    IMO there is definitely a problem to be looked at here. That, added to the practice of replacing failed components with the exact same components that are known to have problems should be dealt with at some level.

    Not just Apple of course, but huge swathes of CE devices from all manner of manufacturers. 

    Sometimes it's the 'consumable' side of products too, without which the product has reduced functional capacity. Racks and drawers on fridges and freezers for example that often need replacing. 

    It's very complex and right to repair is also mixed in with this but it's high time someone took a long hard look at this at a government level. 

    Information is always good. 


    I totally disagree. Government needs to stay out of these things as much as possible. By nature, technology is going to become obsolete fairly quickly. And really, why in the hell would we want government involved in looking at things like failed components and questionable design decisions?  
    StrangeDaysjas99williamlondonrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 20
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 11,561member
    avon b7 said:
    This lawsuit can be pointed at every manufacturer of home appliances and have worth. I have 14 year old Apple devices still doing what they can given the changing demands.
    This is true but it is about time consumers were informed of what is going on with some devices and given options to fight back. 

    There have been numerous cases of questionable design decisions at Apple which have had a deep impact on product reliability. 

    I have been following the late 2009, 27inch i7, Radeon graphics card failures with interest.

    IMO there is definitely a problem to be looked at here. That, added to the practice of replacing failed components with the exact same components that are known to have problems should be dealt with at some level.

    Not just Apple of course, but huge swathes of CE devices from all manner of manufacturers. 

    Sometimes it's the 'consumable' side of products too, without which the product has reduced functional capacity. Racks and drawers on fridges and freezers for example that often need replacing. 

    It's very complex and right to repair is also mixed in with this but it's high time someone took a long hard look at this at a government level. 

    Information is always good. 
    What on earth are you talking about? What failing components? Be specific.

    Meanwhile here in reality, my Apple gear far outlives non. IMO Apple gear has the longest useful lifespan, which is why they last me so long and I can resell them for good coin. My last iMac desktop was in service for almost a decade. I'd never do that w/ a Windows machine. My iPads, iPhones, and Watches are scooped up on eBay every time I sell them, for significant cash.
    jas99williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,896member
    sdw2001 said:
    avon b7 said:
    This lawsuit can be pointed at every manufacturer of home appliances and have worth. I have 14 year old Apple devices still doing what they can given the changing demands.
    This is true but it is about time consumers were informed of what is going on with some devices and given options to fight back. 

    There have been numerous cases of questionable design decisions at Apple which have had a deep impact on product reliability. 

    I have been following the late 2009, 27inch i7, Radeon graphics card failures with interest.

    IMO there is definitely a problem to be looked at here. That, added to the practice of replacing failed components with the exact same components that are known to have problems should be dealt with at some level.

    Not just Apple of course, but huge swathes of CE devices from all manner of manufacturers. 

    Sometimes it's the 'consumable' side of products too, without which the product has reduced functional capacity. Racks and drawers on fridges and freezers for example that often need replacing. 

    It's very complex and right to repair is also mixed in with this but it's high time someone took a long hard look at this at a government level. 

    Information is always good. 


    I totally disagree. Government needs to stay out of these things as much as possible. By nature, technology is going to become obsolete fairly quickly. And really, why in the hell would we want government involved in looking at things like failed components and questionable design decisions?  
    Quite simply because it is government that has had to deal with the effects of industry decisions. WEEE and RoHS were the fruits of necessity. Same applies to phone chargers back in the day. It is government that establishes consumer protections too. That regulates safety etc. It will be government which decides on the right to repair. 

    Why shouldn't government be looking at cases of design that might be the cause of an unnecessarily shorter lifespan of a product?

    It's not like we haven't been here before:

    https://www.infoworld.com/article/2642315/apple--danish-board-disagree-over-ibook-flaw.html

    These are complex issues that consumers are often left in the dark on. We live in the information age and government backed investigations are a valid way to get quality information back to the consumer. 


    elijahg
  • Reply 11 of 20
    sdw2001 said:
    avon b7 said:
    This lawsuit can be pointed at every manufacturer of home appliances and have worth. I have 14 year old Apple devices still doing what they can given the changing demands.
    This is true but it is about time consumers were informed of what is going on with some devices and given options to fight back. 

    There have been numerous cases of questionable design decisions at Apple which have had a deep impact on product reliability. 

    I have been following the late 2009, 27inch i7, Radeon graphics card failures with interest.

    IMO there is definitely a problem to be looked at here. That, added to the practice of replacing failed components with the exact same components that are known to have problems should be dealt with at some level.

    Not just Apple of course, but huge swathes of CE devices from all manner of manufacturers. 

    Sometimes it's the 'consumable' side of products too, without which the product has reduced functional capacity. Racks and drawers on fridges and freezers for example that often need replacing. 

    It's very complex and right to repair is also mixed in with this but it's high time someone took a long hard look at this at a government level. 

    Information is always good. 


    I totally disagree. Government needs to stay out of these things as much as possible. By nature, technology is going to become obsolete fairly quickly. And really, why in the hell would we want government involved in looking at things like failed components and questionable design decisions?  
    Well I think the NTSB would have a lot to say about tech. Remember the DC10 or 737 MAX. All questionable design decisions.
    edited January 25
  • Reply 12 of 20
    Try to imagine a day without someone, somewhere suing Apple! 
    jas99williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 20
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,768member
    avon b7 said:
    sdw2001 said:


    Why shouldn't government be looking at cases of design that might be the cause of an unnecessarily shorter lifespan of a product?

    Holy cow!  You're going to put government in the business of making judgments on what is an appropriate lifespan for a product and enforcing standards on such? Safety and environmental standards, I can live with.  I actually welcome them because they address points of market failure.  But product lifespan?  Despite what some people claim, the smartphone industry is quite competitive and product lifespan is something that smartphone buyers care enough about to factor in on their decision process so I'll leave that for the market to decide, thank you.
    jas99roundaboutnowwilliamlondonrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 20
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,446member
    tundraboy said:
    Throttling wasn't misguided, as it was a good solution to prevent phones from crashing due to older batteries being unable to keep up with the load. 
    It was misguided only in that they were not up front with what they were doing.  They could have just told the truth and announced beforehand 'We are doing this to help extend the usefulness of your phone. It is not a perfect solution but there is only so much we can do to fend off the effects of rapid technological growth.  If you are dissatisfied with this solution, there is an option to opt out.'  I bet most people would appreciate the candor.

    Why well-meaning people and institutions these days quickly rule out the simple approach of just telling the truth baffles me no end.

    Actually they were up front about it. Just as with every bug fix it was laid out in the release notes when the fix was originally implemented - almost 8 months before anyone really noticed. If I remember that fix was released in February and most didn't notice until they upgraded to the next major release of iOS that Fall.

    The original problem was that some iPhones were completely shutting down because the power management system wasn't getting the proper voltage from a battery that could no longer produce it. The fix was to throttle back performance so that it stayed within the limits of the degraded battery.
    killroyrazorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 20
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,896member
    tundraboy said:
    avon b7 said:
    sdw2001 said:


    Why shouldn't government be looking at cases of design that might be the cause of an unnecessarily shorter lifespan of a product?

    Holy cow!  You're going to put government in the business of making judgments on what is an appropriate lifespan for a product and enforcing standards on such? Safety and environmental standards, I can live with.  I actually welcome them because they address points of market failure.  But product lifespan?  Despite what some people claim, the smartphone industry is quite competitive and product lifespan is something that smartphone buyers care enough about to factor in on their decision process so I'll leave that for the market to decide, thank you.
    Government already does this. You have statutory warranty rights. That's government.

    In the US it may be very weak but that isn't the case in the EU or some other countries where Apple already has to offer more product guarantees. 

    killroy
  • Reply 16 of 20
    chasmchasm Posts: 2,391member
    This line of legal BS is going to be exactly as successful as nearly all of the hundreds of similar lawsuits. Thus far, exactly one lawsuit was settled; the others were all dismissed.
    killroywatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 20
    tundraboy said:
    Claiming planned obsolescence in an era of breakneck technological growth is a very hard story to sell.  It is so easy to demonstrate how keeping up with the rate of improvement in hardware unavoidably impacts the performance of older devices because they cannot handle the requirements of new or updated apps that have been optimized for the newer phones.  Apple can also argue that phone throttling was actually an effort (that yes, turned out in the end to be misguided) to slow down obsolescence in older iPhone models.

    We can also say they do not plan long support. Even it can be true that certain HW can be required there is one main reason to obsolesce. And it is lack of RAM. I experienced it with my 5S. At certain moment when my data grown in one app over certain size, it just kept crashing. Like in every few minutes. Purging caches helped just for short time. So it pushed me to original SE that has double memory. Problem solved. But not to my willing. 5S is still serving my mom. I can not complain at the end. SE cost me half what 5S few years back. Gained Apple pay.

    I thing situation would be different if Apple would do broader SW updates to older iOS versions with some functions from newer iOS like they do security updates and they did with covid tracking. Do not know if it was my initiative but even Apple told me they do not plat to bring covid tracking framework to iOS 12 they did. Maybe because my and other response was it is absolute unacceptable as there is huge number of devices that can not be updated to iOS 13 and they are often handed to older family members that needs it the most. And hell frozen, Apple have updated iOS 12.
    Some privacy features or other that would kept full compatibility with for example older iPad one use or privacy features would be very welcomed on older devices as well.

    But mainly benefit for All users would be designing devices with longer support in mind by adding more RAM in advance and therefore a bit bigger battery to keep same battery life. It may lower sales but increase satisfaction and there fore can attract more switches from Android so more income from services. And now even more potential switchers to M1.
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 20
    Is it planned obsolescence when the feature specifically extends the life of the device at the seldom compromise of peak speed.

    This suit seems a bit opportunistic.
    razorpitwatto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 20
    razorpitrazorpit Posts: 1,796member
    urahara said:
    The funny (and sad) thing is that those people might actually believe the story they are trying to sell. They think they are right. 
    Critical thinking is a skill. Not everyone is skillful. 
    Problem is critical thinking is no longer taught in schools. It is wrong to have thought/judgement on your own. Government and “social influencers” will tell you what to think.

    (Orwell is spinning in his grave.)

    Throttling wasn't misguided, as it was a good solution to prevent phones from crashing due to older batteries being unable to keep up with the load. There is nothing any manufacture could do to prevent the wear on the batteries and to keep up with the load. This isn't planned obsolescence, but a solution to enable the phones to have a longer life. IE the opposite of planned obsolescence. The mistake is Apple didn't tell people it was doing it and people scrutinize Apple more. I'm sure all manufactures do throttling. I'm not sure if any other manufacture tells users they throttle or allow users to disable throttling. Then again, this may not show up as much in other manufactures, due to the short amount of time OS can be updated.
    Agreed. Welcome to the age of idiocracy. Modern liberalism, standing on your head and telling the rest of the world it’s upside-down.




    watto_cobra
  • Reply 20 of 20
    killroykillroy Posts: 160member
    sdw2001 said:
    avon b7 said:
    This lawsuit can be pointed at every manufacturer of home appliances and have worth. I have 14 year old Apple devices still doing what they can given the changing demands.
    This is true but it is about time consumers were informed of what is going on with some devices and given options to fight back. 

    There have been numerous cases of questionable design decisions at Apple which have had a deep impact on product reliability. 

    I have been following the late 2009, 27inch i7, Radeon graphics card failures with interest.

    IMO there is definitely a problem to be looked at here. That, added to the practice of replacing failed components with the exact same components that are known to have problems should be dealt with at some level.

    Not just Apple of course, but huge swathes of CE devices from all manner of manufacturers. 

    Sometimes it's the 'consumable' side of products too, without which the product has reduced functional capacity. Racks and drawers on fridges and freezers for example that often need replacing. 

    It's very complex and right to repair is also mixed in with this but it's high time someone took a long hard look at this at a government level. 

    Information is always good. 


    I totally disagree. Government needs to stay out of these things as much as possible. By nature, technology is going to become obsolete fairly quickly. And really, why in the hell would we want government involved in looking at things like failed components and questionable design decisions?  
    Tell that to the NTSB and 737 MAX and the DC10.
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