State attorneys general secured a $113 million settlement with Apple over its throttling of users’ iPhones.
Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia worked on the investigation to uncover how Apple allegedly concealed battery problems from its users, and instead of fixing them slowed the phones down.
The coalition of states’ attorneys general, led by Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, and Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, alleged that Apple introduced a software update in December 2016 to slow iPhones’ performance to prevent unexpected shutdowns.
Under Apple‘s settlement with the states, Apple will be required to pay multimillion-dollar sums to the states, provide truthful information about iPhone battery health to its users, and provide additional information in update-installation notes and on the phones’ interface.
“Big Tech companies must stop manipulating consumers and tell them the whole truth about their practices and products,” said Mr. Brnovich. “I’m committed to holding these goliath technology companies accountable when they conceal important information from users.”
“This type of behavior hurts the pockets of consumers and limits their ability to make informed purchases,” said Xavier Becerra, California Attorney General, in a statement. “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.”
Precisely how the states will use the money they receive is not fully clear. A deadline has expired for users affected by Apple‘s alleged misconduct to join a class-action lawsuit regarding similar conduct that yielded a separate settlement that ended with Apple agreeing to pay out consumer restitution.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel urged her state’s iPhone users that missed the deadline to seek restitution to contact their own private legal counsel about settlement claims and other legal options.
Apple did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The coordination of states’ attorneys general on the multistate investigation could be a harbinger of things to come for Big Tech companies. While the federal government and lawmakers have debated new regulation for the tech sector, the state attorneys general’s action is indicative of a more aggressive posture taken at the local level as well.
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