Apple is swimming in troubled waters since its confession that it deliberately throttles iPhones, and France is now launching an investigation into the practice.
A number of class-action lawsuits against Apple have sparked since the company's disclosure, and Apple's troubles seem far from over. Disgruntled customers are not willing to let it slide, and the tech company now has some explaining to do in France.
France Launches Apple Investigation Over iPhone Slowdown
According to a judicial source cited by Reuters, a French prosecutor opened a preliminary probe into Apple's practices after a consumer organization filed a complaint that Apple is deceiving customers by planning to make its products obsolete, throttling older iPhones' performance.
The watchdog leading the investigation is DGCCRF and it's part of the country's Economy Ministry, Reuters adds. The investigation has just started and it could be several months until the watchdog reaches a conclusion. Depending on the findings, the case could either head to court for a more detailed probe or be dropped altogether.
Apple, meanwhile, could face some hefty fines if it's found to be at fault. French law states that companies could end up paying up to 5 percent of their annual sales if they intentionally make their products obsolete ahead of time in order to force consumers' hand to replace them.
Apple iPhone Slowdown
When it made the disclosure that it deliberately slows down the performance of older iPhone models, Apple said that it chose to do so in order to prolong the battery life and avoid random shutdowns. Batteries age and perform worse in time, so Apple wanted to make up for it by throttling iPhones.
Consumers felt cheated, however, and the disclosure fired up a storm of criticism and lawsuits. Disgruntled customers called out the lack of transparency and argued that if it wasn't just a ploy to determine users to upgrade sooner, Apple should've been clear from the start.
Many iPhone users would have preferred replacing the handset's battery when it started to show aging signs, rather than purchase a new smartphone altogether because the older iPhone was no longer performing well.
Apple repeatedly stated that it did not mean to deliberately shorten the lifespan of its products, as it just wanted to reduce processor demands. To make up for the whole mess, Apple started offering $29 iPhone battery replacements, which marks a $50 discount, but not all older iPhone models are eligible.
The company has yet to offer a statement regarding the new investigation in France.