Some of the top executives of the Cupertino giant Apple may see prison time and penalties for the recent iPhone slowdown fiasco. After the company accepted slowing down older iPhones to safeguard device components, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company.
While it all started as Class-Action lawsuits in the USA, the matter has now gone to France, where the company now faces a criminal case. Apple recently issued a statement admitting they had slowed down the older iPhones as a measure to deliver consistent battery life.
Criminal case against Apple in France
For the uninitiated, the matter here is the slowdown in older iPhones by the company to increase the battery life. While this was the case, Apple did not disclose it till some users discovered that a battery replacement restored the CPU speed on their older iPhones.
In France, a law was passed in 2015, criminalizing Planned Obsolescence. In this case, Apple is alleged by Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP – Stop Planned Obsolescence), an environmental association for the same. They’ve alleged Apple of “deliberately reduce the lifespan of a product to increase the rate of replacement.”
The group says, “Apple has put in place a global strategy of programmed obsolescence in order to boost its sales.” If the point is proven, Apple would be liable for a fine on the value of iPhones it has sold since the law was passed in 2015.
In this case, the maximum sentence against Apple could be a 2-year prison, a fine up to 3,00,000 Euros, and 5% of the company’s annual turnover. The group that has filed the lawsuit is the same which is fighting a case against Epson for planned obsolescence.
Laetitia Vasseur, the co-founder of HOP said, “Everything is organized for force consumers to renew their smartphones. However, when the phone is priced at 1,200 euros, which is more than the SMIC (the minimum monthly wage in France), these practices are unacceptable and must be punished.”