A class action lawsuit is being filed against Apple in the UK, seeking damages totaling £768 million (about US$935 million).
The class action lawsuit is being filed by consumer advocate Justin Gutmann, citing competition law, with the lawsuit accusing the handset maker of abusing its dominant position to engage in exploitative and unfair business practices when it allegedly sold iPhone users through the advertisement misled a power management software update first released in January 2017 in iOS 10.2.1 that throttles the performance of affected devices.
The lawsuit is being brought to the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London on behalf of up to 25 million UK iPhone users who have used one of 10 different iPhone models, from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone X (including the iPhone SE).
The lawsuit, funded by a litigation funder called Balance Legal Capital, is opt-out, not opt-in – meaning affected UK consumers don’t have to actively opt-in to be part of the representative lawsuit (although they can provide their details at a later date if the lawsuit prevails and you wish to recover your share of the damage – although the damage could be as low as ~£30 per affected device).
A website with details about the suit has been launched at https://theiphoneclaim.com/.
Apple has faced several lawsuits for “throttling” iPhone performance other European markets.
In 2020, it also settled a class-action lawsuit on domestic soil similarly charging it with intentionally slowing down the performance of older iPhones to encourage customers to buy newer models or new batteries — and up to $500 million spent to end the litigation, but without admitting wrongdoing.
In which same year, France’s competition watchdog has fined Apple around $27 million for throttling older devices without informing users. In that case, Apple paid the fine and agreed to post a statement about the sanction on its website for a month.
while in 2018Italy’s consumer protection agency has stung Apple (and Samsung) with smaller fines for forcing updates that could slow down or damage devices.
The latest UK action on the throttling issue follows what Gutmann describes as an expert analysis carried out by technical experts who, by his solicitors, Charles Lyndon Ltd, caused the speed of the processor at peak performance in the case of the iPhone 6s and 7 um was slowed down by up to 58%.
The complainant further alleges that Apple misled consumers by not including information about the tool in the iOS 10.2 would have it on their device.
Instead, users who failed to update to the latest iOS version were told that they risked being exposed to bugs and security vulnerabilities by missing important security updates. And the lawsuit also alleges that some users were prompted to install the update up to 70 times in notifications, while those who accepted the update were unable to uninstall it, meaning they were stuck with negative impacts on their device’s performance .
Apple later mentioned the tool in the release notes on its website, but again, the complaint argues that it misled customers by not making it clear that the tool would slow down device performance — it just states, the update “improves power management during peak loads to avoid unexpected shutdowns on the iPhone.”
It also apologized for its handling of the episode — and ran a battery replacement program for all affected iPhone models through 2018 — but Gutmann also accuses the company of under-publicizing that program.
In a statement, he commented, “Rather than doing the honorable and legal cause of their customers and offering a free replacement, repair service or compensation, Apple has instead misled people by hiding a tool in software updates that slowed down their devices by up to 58%.”
“I’m bringing this case to help millions of iPhone users across the UK get redress for the damage suffered as a result of Apple’s actions. If this case is successful, I hope that dominant companies will reassess their business models and refrain from this type of behavior,” he added.
When asked why the lawsuit is now being filed, a spokesman for the plaintiff said he has been working with his attorneys on the lawsuit “for some time.” “It takes time to build such a claim, including examining the technical aspects, and we are now in a position to submit it,” they added.
“You are correct that a number of similar class action lawsuits have been filed. Although none of the European lawsuits have been successful so far, Apple has been fined by French and Italian regulators for its behavior and has settled a number of class-action lawsuits in the US. Mr. Gutmann believes consumer class action lawsuits have been approved in Canada and Spain; and that class action lawsuits have been filed (but not yet certified) in Belgium, Italy and Portugal.”
Earlier this year A separate class action lawsuit has been launched in the UK against Facebook’s parent company Meta, which is also attempting to use competition law as a way to seek damages from a tech giant.
Class action lawsuits targeting data protection law suffered a setback in the UK last year when the Supreme Court sided with Google and ended a long-running legal battle over a workaround it applied to Apple’s Safari between 2011 and 2012 that overrode iPhone users’ privacy settings.
In the Safari workaround case, the class-action style failed as the court found it necessary to prove damages/losses on an individual basis rather than agreeing on a unified indemnity – so it will be interesting to see if litigators have more success on competitive claims representative damages for harmful Big Tech practices, either in court or through out-of-court settlements.
UK market abuse suit seeks up to $935M from Apple for ‘secretly throttling’ iPhones – TechCrunch Source link UK market abuse suit seeks up to $935M from Apple for ‘secretly throttling’ iPhones – TechCrunch