French lawsuit over iPhone battery performance could jail Apple execs, cost millions

The latest lawsuit to be filed against Apple in the battery throttling controversy looks to be the most serious to date. A French environmental group has hit Apple with litigation over alleged planned obsolescence. If found guilty, Apple executives could actually face jail time in addition to millions in fines.

Last week we saw the first two lawsuits emerge over the battery slowdown issue in the US. Now, the litigation against Apple has expanded to Europe.

Reported by The Local, this latest suit was filed yesterday in France by Halte à l’Obsolescence Programmée, or HOP (Stop Planned Obsolescence). The group believes that “Apple has put in place a global strategy of programmed obsolescence in order to boost its sales.”

HOP thinks that Apple can be sued for all iPhones sold in France since 2015, the year that the country criminalized planned obsolescence.

The maximum penalty is a prison sentence of two years, a fine of up to 300,000 euros, and five percent of the firm’s annual turnover.

While 300,000 euros and 5% might not sound like a lot, it could add up quickly when multiplied by millions of iPhones.

All of this, however, is dependent on whether prosecutors find this filed suit to be legitimate. For its part, Apple intends to continue its so-called battery smoothing practice to prevent unexpected shutdowns on iPhones with older batteries. Time will tell if the various lawsuits will influence the company to change its mind, or at least give users notifications about decreased performance when batteries reach a certain age.

Just today, smartphone manufacturers Motorola and HTC made official statements that they do not slow down their devices as batteries age. Other OEM’s are also expected to provide statements soon, which could also put more pressure on Apple to improve its handling of the situation.

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