APPLE has lost a bid to block a massive £853m lawsuit in the UK over claims the tech giant “throttled” iPhone batteries.
This comes after the lawsuit was launched last year on behalf of up to 25 million iPhone customers.
Consumer advocate Justin Gutmann said last year he hoped to get £768m out of Apple through the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT).
However, this sum has now risen to a whopping £853 million.
Apple has always denied the claims.
Gutmann’s claim was related to an incident in 2017 surrounding a power management tool on older iPhone models.
The company has been accused of slowing the performance of iPhone phones through software updates, a process known as “throttling.”
It claimed Apple misled users by pushing them to download iOS updates that were supposed to improve performance when they actually slowed it down.
The tech giant had tried to block the lawsuit, but CAT ruled today that it could move forward.
The court said Gutmann’s lawsuit must be affirmed to stand but that there was a “lack of clarity and specificity” in the case.
It was said that this would have to be resolved in court.
Reacting to the ruling, Gutmann said: “This is fantastic news for iPhone users in the UK and a huge step towards consumer justice.”
“Apple misled millions of iPhone users by issuing software updates that failed to address underlying battery issues and instead opted to throttle phone performance.”
He said he was “gratified” by the tribunal’s request, adding: “This paves the way for millions of consumers who have to pay for battery replacements or new phone models to receive the compensation they deserve.”
“Facing a $2.3 trillion company like Apple is no easy challenge. The company has immense resources to defend its anti-competitive practices.”
“However, today brings us one step closer to leveling the playing field and holding one of the largest and most powerful companies in the world accountable for its actions.”
This is fantastic news for iPhone users in the UK and an important step towards consumer justice.
An Apple spokesperson previously said: “We have never and would never do anything to intentionally shorten the lifespan of an Apple product or worsen the user experience in order to drive customer upgrades.”
“Our goal has always been to create products that our customers love, and making iPhones last as long as possible is an important part of that.”
In 2017, it was said that the download instructions at the time appeared to be missing information about the tool and did not mention that speed might be affected – but information was added at a later date.
Gutmann’s claim is that Apple did all this to hide the fact that iPhone batteries couldn’t handle the new iOS.
Apple apologized in late 2017 after users complained about performance issues.
The company promised to replace batteries at a heavily discounted price for a limited time and also introduce a feature that allows users to turn off the power management tool.
Apple CEO Tim Cook also publicly apologized for the incident, saying the company never tried to mislead anyone and did not intentionally shorten the lifespan of its products.
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If successful, everyone who bought the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6S, 6S Plus, SE, 7, 7 Plus models would be entitled to compensation.
However, it is not clear how much each person could receive at this point.