In a first of its kind, Apple are being investigated for alleged criminal offences by prosecutors in France.
Under French law it is a crime to intentionally shorten lifespan of a product with the aim of making customers replace it.
#Apple has poisoned its brand by admitting slowing down old phones. As a chronic iPhone user I feel cheated of my time by this shameful slow-down. Actual costs of business and general interface r enormous. It is fraud.
— Syed Talat Hussain (@TalatHussain12) 30 December 2017
In December, Apple admitted that older iPhone models were deliberately slowed down through software updates.
But it insisted it was because the phones’ battery performance diminished over time.
Hey @Apple is it safe for me to update my phone yet? Or will I still get hit with this slow down scam?
— Carl (@cara_face) 9 January 2018
The French investigation is being led by the economy ministry’s consumer protection agency.
It follows a legal complaint filed in December by pro-consumer group Stop Planned Obsolescence (Hop).
Hop said France was the third country to investigate Apple after Israel and the US, but the only one in which the alleged offence was a crime. Penalties could include up to 5% of annual turnover or even a jail term.