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News > France

Apple Investigated for “Programmed Obsolescence”

  • Apple faces lawsuit for making its old iPhones irreparable. May. 15, 2023.

    Apple faces lawsuit for making its old iPhones irreparable. May. 15, 2023. | Photo: @insidercnews

Published 15 May 2023

French authorities opened a court case against the technology company for making its old iPhones irreparable.

The Paris prosecutor's office has opened a judicial investigation into the programmed obsolescence of Apple products to force users to upgrade them, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office said Monday.


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Previously, sentences were handed down in France and Italy against the tech giant. "At the end of 2022, as a result of a complaint, an investigation into deceptive marketing practices and planned obsolescence was opened," the office said in a statement Monday, adding that the complaint was filed by an activist group called Halte a L'Obsolescence Programmee (HOP).

The group's lawsuit focuses on the practice of "serialization," whereby replacement parts such as microchips or speakers are associated with serial numbers to a specific generation of iPhone.

This is used to prevent third-party repairers from using generic parts, and as Apple retires models, it also retires the associated replacement parts. With such actions, it forces customers to shell out for a newer model.

According to HOP, the multinational company can detect if a phone has been repaired with unauthorized parts and "degrade" its performance remotely.

An earlier complaint by HOP led to Apple being fined $27 million in 2020 by a French consumer watchdog for slowing down the performance of older iPhones through mandatory operating system updates. A similar decision was made in Italy a year earlier, with the country's antitrust authority imposing a $10.8 million fine on the Californian company.

South Korea rejected, in February, another attempt to sue Apple over programmed obsolescence: a Seoul court dismissed the lawsuit without explanation and forced the plaintiffs to pay Apple's lawyers' fees.


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