America’s Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched an investigation if Apple violated securities laws for its failure to disclose the update which caused older iPhone’s processor performance to throttle.
“We have received questions from some government agencies and we are responding to them,” an Apple spokeswoman told Reuters.
Apple were quick to defend their actions, adding “We have never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades.”
The Justice Department and the SEC are yet to formally comment on the story, but according to sources, the chairman of a US Senate committee has asked Apple to provide answers to how it handled the disclosures and handling of the iPhone situation.
In addition to a public apology (which stressed Apple weren’t intentionally trying to ruin your phones performance), the company also reduced the cost of its replacement battery service from the usual $79 USD to just $29 USD.
Of course, Apple are already dealing with a PR nightmare with this situation, and there are currently around 50 class action lawsuits within the United States over iPhone models spanning from SE, 6 and finally iPhone 7.
Apple insist that the update was intended to reduce crashes and improve the stability of older phones whose battery had gone through a larger number of charge cycles. Critics argue that Apple hadn’t informed users, and given that not everyone’s device was unstable (given the nature of Lithium Ion batteries, they can degrade at different speeds) users should have been given an opt-out for the ‘feature’.
With this in mind, its not surprising that numerous other countries have launched investigations, including countries from the EU, South Korea and even the Chinese bodies are demanding answers from Apple.
In the case of the French and Italian cases, they are alleging both deception and planned obsolesce with usage of the updates as a means to nudge users into purchasing new devices.
In South Korea its being taken a step further, with a consumer group there filling a criminal complaint against Tim Cook, and alleging both destruction of property and fraud.
The Shanghai Consumer Council (which although isn’t officially run by the Chinese government, does operate with their backing and support) also questioned Apple. Demanding an explanation for the performance hit and how Apple are planning to appease its consumers.
Source – Reuters