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28 Dec, 2017 15:28

Apple faces avalanche of lawsuits over deliberate obsolescence of iPhones

Apple faces avalanche of lawsuits over deliberate obsolescence of iPhones

It seems 2018 will become the year of legal battles for Apple as more customers are filing suits against the corporation after it admitted to slowing down older iPhones to make them obsolete faster.

A group of activists from France is the latest to sue Apple over the issue, The Locals reports. The case could see the company’s top managers jailed and cost it five percent of its income if it is convicted of deliberate aging of the devices.

“Apple has put in place a global strategy of programmed obsolescence to boost its sales,” the group said in a statement.

The lawsuit by Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP), an environmental association, was filed in the Paris prosecutor’s office on Wednesday. The case will be heard in a criminal court if prosecutors decide it is legitimate. The maximum penalty for senior managers is a prison sentence of two years, a fine of up to €300,000, and five percent of the company’s annual turnover.

At the same time, South Korean law firm Hannuri announced plans to recruit plaintiffs through its website for two weeks and file a class-action suit against Apple to seek compensation over the same issue. This could reportedly become the first class-action suit against the corporation in Asia.

“Because Apple made users upgrade their phones without informing them of the side effects, it deceived consumers and violated consumer protection law,” said Cho Gye Chang, an attorney who represents the complainants at Hannuri, as quoted by the Straits Times.

Another law firm Hwimyoung has already united nearly 20 complainants and is getting ready to go to court. The lawyers are planning to sue Apple Korea for damages in early January in Seoul Central District Court.

The wave of legal cases followed Apple’s announcement that it slowed down iPhones as they got older. Apple said it has algorithms in place to help keep an iPhone running at optimal performance if there is an older battery inside that can't keep up with the required power. The measure was aimed at preventing devices from unexpected shutdowns and keeping them running at their best.

The corporation also faces more than nine lawsuits in the US, including a trillion dollar suit in California, and a $125 million class-action suit filed in Israel.