When the angry mob raised torches and pitchforks against Apple for silently throttling iPhone performance because of battery concerns, Samsung was one of the companies that immediately said “we don’t do that”. Now it might be wishing it kept quiet instead as it is now being dragged into the same investigation as Apple is over charges of planned obsolescence. Naturally, Samsung firmly denies doing such things and will be cooperating with authorities in the investigation. Whether it can spin this positively in time for the Galaxy S9 debut, however, is a whole different matter.
The planned obsolescence charges against Apple hinges on two facts and one allegation. The facts are that Apple pushed an iOS update that throttled the performance of iPhone models with older batteries and that Apple did so without informing users. While that might not have been illegal, depending on who you asked, not a few people and lawsuits claim that Apple did so in order to artificially push iPhone users to upgrade to newer models even if theirs are still completely fine. Except for the battery, of course.
Apple has owned up to the two facts mentioned above and is bending over backward to appease angry users and governments. In addition to reducing the cost of battery replacements, CEO Tim Cook himself mentioned in an interview that a future iOS update will let users disable the throttling, even against Apple’s better judgment. That, however, isn’t satisfying government agencies or stopping lawsuits.
Samsung now has to face those same charges, at least in Italy. It denies that it pushes updates to slow down its phones to “encourage” users to upgrade. At this point, some will probably want to point out that Samsung phones are already slow by default anyway. And, in fact, it isn’t pushing updates at all, even important ones.
Sarcasm aside, these charges looms over the manufacturer just as it is about to unveil its newest flagship at MWC 2018 next month. While mostly seen as an evolution rather than a revolution, the Galaxy S9 might still pack enough new technologies, inside and out, to make it compelling purchase but probably not enough for an upgrade.