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Apple Under Investigation By French Authorities Over iPhone Slowdown Issue

iPhone 6.Yanki01/Flickr

Apple has been facing a lot of backlash from consumers after it was discovered that it was intentionally slowing down older iPhones with an update. Now, the company has to contend with French authorities, which is looking into the matter through the lens of a criminal probe. The term “planned obsolescence” is a central concept in this investigation, since it’s illegal in France.

The criminal probe was launched after the group Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP), which represents consumers filed a lawsuit against Apple after finding out about the intentional sabotage, The Verge reports. The lawsuit was filed on December 27th and although Apple had already issued an apology, it is still looking at several class-action lawsuits from various markets.

As to what the company is looking at if it is prosecuted for the crime, the BBC reports that it could include an annual turnover of five percent as well as jail time for indicted individuals. HOP also pointed out in its lawsuit that while Apple is now being sued in three countries, including the U.S. and Israel, France is the only market to file a lawsuit where the act of intentionally making products obsolete is a crime.

By including a patch that makes older iPhones perform worse without telling consumers, the group pointed out that it could be considered a move by Apple to force customers to upgrade to new phones. Apple denied these allegations and defended its actions by explaining that the slowdown was due to the matter of power efficiency.

Basically, the Cupertino firm said that older iPhone batteries become worse over time, which effectively made it less reliable in terms of providing power to the phones’ processor. As a result, the update was intended to mitigate the risks of the phone overheating, with the unavoidable consequences being slower processing speeds. By replacing the battery, older iPhones can get regain their previous processing speeds.

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