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UK market abuse lawsuit seeks up to $935 million from Apple for ‘secretly tuned’ iPhones – TechCrunch


A class-action lawsuit is being launched against Apple in the UK seeking damages totaling £768 million (about $935 million).

Representative action is being filed by consumer rights campaigner Justin Gutmann invoking competition law – with a lawsuit accusing the mobile manufacturer of taking advantage of its dominant position in the market to engage in unfair competition. exploitative and unfair commercial practice where, according to the statement, it misled iPhone users by applying a power management software update, first released in January 2017 in iOS 10.2.1, intended to throttle the performance of affected devices.

The lawsuit is being filed with the Court of Competition Appeal in London on behalf of the 25 million iPhone users in the UK who have used any of 10 different iPhone models, from the iPhone 6 to iPhone X (and including the iPhone SE).

The lawsuit, which is being run by a litigation sponsor called Balance Legal Capital, is opt-out, opt-out – meaning affected UK consumers don’t need to take the initiative apply to be part of a representative lawsuit (although they will need to provide details at a later date if the lawsuit becomes effective and expect to receive their share of any damages – though, damages can be as low as ~£30 per affected device).

A website has been launched with detailed information about the suit at https://theiphoneclaim.com/.

Apple has faced litigation over claims to ‘throttle’ iPhone performance in some cases other European markets.

Back in 2020, they also settled a class-action lawsuit at home, similarly accusing them of intentionally slowing down the performance of older iPhones to encourage customers to buy newer models or new batteries – spend up to $500 million in litigation. go, though do so without conceding wrongdoing.

inside Male Palace, the French competition watchdog fined Apple about $27 million for regulating older devices without notifying users. In that case, Apple paid the fine and agreed to display a statement on its website about the sanction for one month.

While in 2018Italy’s consumer watchdog has thrown Apple (and Samsung) smaller financial penalties for forcing updates that it found could slow down or damage devices.

The UK’s latest action on the regulation issue follows what Gutmann describes as expert analysis carried out by technical experts guided by his solicitor, Charles Lyndon Ltd, which he said said to demonstrate that Apple’s tool was introduced with the aim of reducing the need for batteries. had the effect of slowing down the processor speed at peak performance by up to 58% in the case of iPhone 6s and 7.

The complainant claims Apple misled consumers because information about the tool was not included in the download description of the iOS 10.2.1 update – meaning that users were not informed in advance of the adverse impact that the app would have. it will cause on their device.

Instead, users who failed to update to the latest iOS version have been told that they are at risk of being exposed to bugs and security holes by missing out on important security updates. And the lawsuit also claims some users will be prompted 70 times to install the update in the notification, while those who have accepted the update cannot uninstall it, meaning they’re stuck. with any negative impact on their device performance.

Apple later added a mention of the tool to the release notes on its website, but again, the complaint alleges that it misled customers by not making it clear that the tool would do the job. slow device performance – just saying that the update “improves power management during peak workloads to prevent iPhones from shutting down unexpectedly. ”

It also went on to apologize for its handling of the episode — and run a battery replacement program through 2018 for all affected iPhone models — but Gutmann also accused the company of not fully announcing that program. .

Commenting in a statement, he said: “Instead of doing the honorable and legal thing for their customers and providing free replacement, repair or compensation, Apple deceives people by hiding hiding a tool in software updates slows down their devices by up to 58 percent. ”

“I am launching this case so that millions of iPhone users across the UK will receive a settlement for the harm caused by Apple’s actions. If this case is successful, I would expect dominant companies to reevaluate their business models and refrain from such behaviour,” he added.

When asked why the lawsuit is being filed now, a spokesman for the plaintiff said that along with his attorneys, he’s been working on the claim for “a while.” “It took time to build a claim like this, including investigating its technical aspects, and we are now ready to file,” they added.

“You are right that a number of similar class-action lawsuits have been filed. While none of the European actions have been successful, Apple has been fined by French and Italian regulators in connection with the practice and has settled a number of class-action lawsuits in the US. Mr. Gutmann understands that class action lawsuits under consumer law have been certified in Canada and Spain; and class action lawsuits have been filed (but not yet certified) in Belgium, Italy and Portugal. “

This early year A separate class-action lawsuit has been brought in the UK against Facebook’s parent company, Meta, which is also seeking to use competition law as a route to seeking damages from a technology giant.

Privacy law-focused representation operations hit back in the UK last year when the Supreme Court sided with Google – ending a lengthy litigation over a resolution it applied to Apple’s Safari from 2011 to 2012, which overruled user privacy settings Iphone.

In the case of Safari’s settlement, class action was unsuccessful because the court considered it necessary to prove damages/loss on an individual basis, instead of agreeing that uniform compensation could be imposed. – so it will be interesting to see if litigation attorneys have more success using representative damages competition against Big Tech’s harmful practices, in court or through through out-of-court settlement.



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