Apple probed as French customers allege batteries are created to die

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The investigation into possible "planned obsolescence" or "fraud" was opened on Friday and is being led by anti-trust and consumer protection specialists in the French economy ministry, the source said.

-Companies that deliberately shorten the life of their products to spur demand to replace them risk fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales under French law, according to Reuters.

Apple acknowledged last month that it takes some measures to reduce power demands - which can have the effect of slowing the processor - in some older iPhone models when a phone's battery is having trouble supplying the peak current that the processor demands.

Apple representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

HOP praised the decision of French authorities to dig into Apple's practices. Starting with iOS 10.2.1, Apple began to slow down the CPU on phones with aging batteries in an attempt to have the phones last longer.

Last month Apple confirmed what critics had suspected for years: that it intentionally slows performance of older iPhones as their batteries weaken with age. Planned obsolescence was declared illegal in France in 2015, carrying the penalty of up to two years in jail and fines equal to 5 percent of total revenue.

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However in late December the company issued an apology for slowing older models and said it would discount replacement batteries for some handsets.

We know that some of you feel Apple has let you down.

The Silicon Valley company faces fraud lawsuits in the United States for slowing down devices to compensate for poor battery performance.

Reuters reported the preliminary investigation could take a number of months and will either be dropped or passed on to a judge for further investigation, depending on the findings.

The company denies incorporating planned obsolescence in its products in a bid to nudge customers into upgrading their phones.

Using landmark French legislation that makes it a criminal offence to deliberately cut short the life of a product, the group Stop Planned Obsolescence, known by its French initials HOP, is hoping to score a victory for consumers everywhere.

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