Italy’s antitrust organization has launched an investigation into Apple and Samsung as part of an effort to determine if the two companies are issuing new software updates in order to artificially convince Italian device owners that their devices are slowing down and pushing those consumers into purchasing new hardware.

The probe by Italy’s Autorit Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) has clearly been instigated off the back of information coming into the public domain suggesting that Apple has been limiting the performance of devices based on battery degrading levels.

The documentation pertaining to the investigation doesn’t specifically reference Apple’s practices where depleted batteries are concerned but it does reference its belief that Apple has entirely failed to provide guarantees of an “adequate level of performance” to the Italian public. As pointed out by AppleInsider, the antitrust organization has cited its belief that the practices of the companies could be in violation of articles 20, 21, 22, and 24 of the consumer code which all companies must adhere to. This is specifically related to promises made by companies to consumers and the adherence that those companies must have to those promises where its products and services are concerned.

This is a particularly interesting claim and one that we would love to see play out considering neither Apple nor Samsung have ever used advertising or marketing materials to make specific performance claims, guarantees, or promises.

The AGCM may not specifically refer to or mention Apple’s internal decision to purposely slow down older devices with a degraded battery but it’s very hard to imagine that it hasn’t at least played a small part in the decision to investigate Apple and Samsung. This is just yet another issue that Apple could do without.

The Cupertino-based company is already facing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of device owners who believe the practice of slowing down devices is wrong. Tim Cook’s company is also facing a criminal case in France, a country where planned obsolescence – or the act of purposely attempting to make a device obsolete – is actually illegal.

One shining light for the consumer is that Apple’s CEO has already stipulated that the next release of iOS will give some power back to the device owner and allow them to disable the internal slowdown should they see fit.

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