Samsung, as well as Apple, has now come under the spotlight in Italy in regards to the honesty and integrity of its approach to updates. As the Italian competition authority - L'Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) - has announced it is investigating both companies and in particular, the process by which they have initiated updates in the past and whether those updates have been in part designed to prematurely reduce the usability of their phones. A tactic often referred to as ‘planned obsolescence.’
This follows on from the highly-reported on issue of whether Apple rolled out updates with a view to slowing down the performance of phones, and by association, as a means to effectively force consumers to upgrade to a newer model. While there are already investigations ongoing with Apple, Italy today announced that along with its own Apple probe, it is also looking at Samsung with the suggestion the South Korean company has been doing the same. A result, the authority says, of “consumer reports" and its own “pre-trial activity.”
Although the statement from the AGCM does not go into massive detail, it does provide enough detail to explain the charges. Namely, the AGCM will be looking at whether Samsung and Apple have been intentionally exploiting the “shortcomings of some components” as a means to “induce consumers to purchase new versions.” With the suggestion this would have been occurring through the employment of updates rolled out to devices. While this in itself would be an issue for the AGCM, the authority also points out if Samsung and Apple have been doing this, there would also be the issue of the updates being sent out to users without either company fully disclosing their effects. Specifically, the negative effects. If proved to be the case, this along with the initial accusations could result in multiple article violations of Italy’s Consumer Code, according to the authority. The next step will involve a deeper investigation into the practices used by both companies. A process that has seemingly already begun with the AGCM confirming office inspections at both Samsung and Apple have already taken place.