Apple Inc has agreed to pay US$113 million to settle litigation with more than 30 US states over its slowdown in performance of older iPhones to manage battery power.
The latest “batterygate” settlement would divide the settlement among California and 33 other states, a statement by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said.
The settlement resolves complaints that the tech giant made misrepresentations about iPhone batteries and software updates that throttled processing performance to manage insufficient battery power, Becerra said.
“Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update,” he said.
“This type of behavior hurts the pockets of consumers and limits their ability to make informed purchases,” he said.
“Today’s settlement ensures consumers will have access to the information they need to make a well-informed decision when purchasing and using Apple products,” he said.
The settlement resolves complaints about Apple’s iPhone 6 and 7 generation phones, which according to the states’ complaint were susceptible to performance loss.
In the court documents, the iPhone maker said that it agreed to the payout “solely for the purposes of settlement,” without any admission of wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, Apple agreed to pay up to US$500 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over the same issue.
In December 2017, Apple said that its iOS software was tweaked to slow the performance of older iPhones whose battery life was deteriorating to prevent handsets from spontaneously shutting down.
Critics accused Apple of surreptitiously forcing users to buy phones sooner than necessary, and the outcry prompted Apple to upgrade its software and offer steep discounts on battery replacements.
Separately, Apple on Wednesday said that it would cut in half its App Store fees for small developers, moving in the face of lawsuits over its 30 percent commission and increased antitrust scrutiny of the online marketplace.
The company said that developers who make less than US$1 million from selling apps on its store would see Apple’s revenue bite cut to 15 percent.
However, the announcement would have no effect on developers that generate huge amounts of cash from wildly popular apps from the likes of music giant Spotify Technology SA and video game sensation Epic Games Inc.
Apple said that the “vast majority” of developers would benefit from its program launched to give companies a boost during the pandemic, which would become effective on Jan. 1.
Apple said that its marketplace has about 1.8 million apps, most of them free.
The App Store generated about US$519 billion in commerce last year, with about 85 percent flowing to the developers, the company said.
The Coalition for App Fairness, a newly formed association that includes Spotify, Epic Games and several other app developers, expressed disappointment with Apple’s move.
“Developers want a level playing field from Apple, NOT a symbolic gesture,” the coalition wrote on Twitter.
“Apple’s announcement today is a calculated move and ignores fundamental flaws with the App Store, specifically,” it wrote.
The group said that the US$1 million threshold is arbitrary and that Apple’s policies are still hurting many app developers.
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