Things are getting more serious for Apple over the revelations that the company purposely slows down older phones. They could face criminal charges in France under a recently passed obsolescence law.Â
A report from French outlet The Local (via The Verge) detailed efforts by Halte Ã lâObsolescence ProgrammÃ©e (HOP, translated as “Stop Planned Obsolescence”), a group dedicated to “raise awareness and influence for sustainable and repairable products.”Â
HOP filed a complaint in a French court on Wednesday, setting itself apart from lawsuits filed in the U.S. and Israel by making it a criminal complaint, citing a violation of an “energy transition” law enacted in 2015.
In their statement, HOP said (as loosely translated by Google):
The law on the energy transition of 2015 prohibits “the practice of planned obsolescence, which is defined by the use of techniques by which the person responsible for the marketing of a product aims to deliberately reduce the duration to increase the replacement rate. The complaint is therefore criminal; the law provides for a maximum sentence of two years in prison and up to 300,000 euros in fines and 5% of the annual turnover.
TL;DR: By slowing down old phones, Apple is forcing people to replace them with new phones at a faster rate than they really should, violating measures for sustainability established by that 2015 law.
HOP even has a form where you can submit any slowdown-related issues you’ve had with your iPhone.Â
The first two lawsuits against Apple were filed in the U.S. a week ago, just a few days after Apple confirmed reports that it slowed down older models of its iPhone to preserve battery life. Several more U.S. suits and a class-action suit in Israel were added to the pile in the days following the first filings.Â
But this French case is, so far, the only known criminal complaint filed against the tech behemoth, which has already faced turmoil over its tax situation in Europe and, more specifically, Ireland in recent years.Â
Given that Apple stands to benefit handsomely (well, mostly) from the newly signed GOP tax bill, they should have enough extra cash to throw at the problem until it goes away.