French environmental group files criminal complaint against Apple for ‘planned obsolescence’

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Controversy erupted when it was revealed earlier this month that Apple might have been slowing down older iPhones. Users were outraged at the possibility and Apple further fanned the flames when it admitted that it was indeed throttling devices. However, it called this a “feature” that extended battery life for aging phones.

Pointing out that this was a feature meant for the benefit of the user did nothing to calm the storm. Class-action lawyers took hold of the fury and filed lawsuits in California, New York and Israel. The cases claim that in addition to slowing down devices, Apple intentionally failed to inform customers about the so-called feature which prompted many to replace their phones rather than opting for a much cheaper battery replacement.

Now Cupertino is facing potential criminal allegations in France. Yesterday, Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée (HOP) announced it was filing a criminal complaint against Apple under French obsolescence laws.

“With this complaint, France is the third country (after the United States and Israel) in which the Cupertino company is questioned for planned obsolescence. But unlike these two countries, France has made it a crime.”

The environmental advocacy group, whose name roughly translates to “stop planned obsolescence,” claims that Apple violated French laws which prohibit companies from intentionally reducing the lifespan of a product to increase the replacement rate.

The laws were enacted in 2015 and carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison, a 300,000 euro fine and five percent of the company’s earnings for the year.

HOP claims that it filed the complaint to help consumers who are being forced to replace their electronic products frequently and to reduce the waste going into the environment from discarded devices.

The filing marks the second complaint placed under the two-year-old legislation. Back in September, HOP filed similar charges against Epson, HP, Canon and Brother. The four printer companies are accused of “deliberately shortening the life of printers and cartridges.”

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