France is investigating US tech giant Apple over it allegedly planning for smartphones to become out of date through restricting their repair, prosecutors and an association said on Monday.
The probe into purported misleading commercial practices and planned obsolescence has been under way since December, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
It follows a complaint filed by the Halt Planned Obsolescence (HOP) association.HOP said it hoped the investigation would demonstrate the iPhone maker was “associating the serial numbers of spare parts to those of a smartphone, including via microchips, giving the manufacturer the possibility of restricting repairs by non-approved repairers or to remotely degrade a smartphone repaired with generic parts”.
The association called on Apple “to guarantee the right to repair devices under the logic of real circular economy”.
Apple France was not immediately available for comment.Apple in 2020 agreed to pay 25 million euros (then $27.4 million) for failing to tell iPhone users that software updates could slow down older devices.
The scandal erupted in December 2017, when the US tech giant admitted that its most recent iOS software was slowing the performance of older telephones whose battery life was deteriorating.
“Following a complaint, an investigation was opened in December 2022 into deceptive marketing practices and programmed obsolescence,” the spokesperson said, adding that the complaint had been filed by NGO Halte a L’Obsolescence Programmee (HOP).
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