Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products

Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products


  • A French consumer association filed preliminary, legal complaints
  • Apple is already facing lawsuits in the US
  • Planned obsolescence is illegal in France

Smartphone maker Apple and Japanese printer company Epson are facing legal complaints in France over allegedly speeding up the ageing process of their products to stimulate demand.

A French consumer association called “HOP” – standing for “Stop Planned Obsolescence” – filed preliminary, legal complaints in court against the two groups over the charges.

HOP said it filed its complaint against Apple in Paris on Wednesday. A prosecutor opened an investigation into Epson last month, a judicial source said on Thursday, following a complaint filed in September by HOP in a court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Laetitia Vasseur, co-founder of HOP, told Reuters the aim of both complaints was to apply the French consumer law, which was modified in 2015 to include the notion of planned obsolescence.

Apple is already facing lawsuits in the United States over accusations of having defrauded iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance.

These lawsuits came after Apple said last week that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

Under French law, companies risk fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales for deliberately shortening the life of their products to spur demand to replace them.

A spokeswoman for Epson France said Epson denied the charges made against it by the HOP association. She added that Epson was working with authorities on the matter and that the quality of its products was of the utmost importance for the company.

Officials for Apple France could not be immediately reached for comment.


Nine challenges creative agencies face while pitching

Pitching is an integral part of creative agencies’ DNA for acquiring new business or even retaining the existing business. For something so integral to the success of an agency, it is alarming to know that the pitch process is mostly notoriously distraught. According to a Provoke Insights study done in 2015, approximately 47 per cent of advertising professionals surveyed said that they were dissatisfied with the current approach to pitching.

For agencies, pitching new business is often a drain on resources, time and morale, and it doesn’t always result in the best pairing of clients and their creative partners. interacted with industry leaders to weigh in the pain points of creative pitches.

Problems related to creative pitches are a vicious circle and to come out of it, one needs to identify them and then find solutions. This listicle is divided into two parts. The first part talks about the problems related to creative pitches and the second part will talk about the solutions.

This compilation is based on the conversation with Govind Pandey, CEO, TBWA; Kapil Arora, President, Ogilvy Group Companies, North, ‎Ogilvy & Mather; Ambarish Ray, Director, COO, Metal Communications; Shiv Sethuraman, The New Business; Vistasp Hodiwala, CCO and Co-Founder, Underdog and Shivil Gupta, ECD, Dentsu Impact.

No time for creatives to ideate

When a pitch is called by clients and a particular time is allotted to the agencies to prepare, most of that time is spent by the strategy and planning people on the pitch and then the creative directors are approached to look for an idea.

Gupta added, “The ratio of time spent by planning and creative is not right. More time is taken by the planning and strategy people and very less is given to the creative ones, which makes difficult to find insights.”

Also, time gap between briefing and calling for presentation is not enough. Sethuraman added, “Most clients don’t plan for enough time between briefing and asking for presentations. As a result, they don’t get great output and have to do multiple rounds.”

Say no to speculative creative pitches

Agencies should be careful before jumping into the speculative pitch well. One should do a proper background check on the brand, its expectations, scope and ambition before even agreeing to pitch. In the run to maintain business P/L, agencies tend to pitch for any brand without giving a much thought. A senior agency official said, “This generally happens with agencies that are either independent or struggling to maintain costs or the bigger ones that have pressures from their parent network and have too many people to deploy on any kind of a pitch.”

Pandey said, “The fact that you have limited number of people, you need to be choosy with the kind of brands you want to work with. A new business pitch is a big cost. A lot of time and resources are spent on it and that itself should limit the number of pitches you want to do.”

Trouble creative agencies for the pitch sake

Another problem that creatives talk about is that at times CMOs call pitches just for the sake of completely mandatory requirements of calling a pitch. At times, the marketers already have a set agency in their mind but call for a pitch for the sake of it. This happens when a marketer joins from another company and favours an agency he has worked with.

Excessive pitching depletes quality of creativity

A major contributor to long working hours, and in some cases staff burnout, is excessive pitching. It’s tough on the creatives because they are constantly being asked for new ideas. It is a demanding process.

Evergreen pitch fee problem

Agencies not being paid for pitching is a vicious problem for the industry. Unity is needed to come to a permanent solution and that is not happening soon. On the one hand, the agencies say they should be paid as a lot of time, money and creativity go in making even a sample presentation. On the other hand, many agencies are willing to present bids for free if clients don’t oblige. Although, there are a few agencies that do not pitch until they are paid a fee.

Pitching for projects

Although projects bring monies to the agencies in the short-term, but preparing for project pitches is a nuisance because it is for the short-term and agencies have to come up with ideas each time. There is no surety that the client would come back to the agency for another project or a longer term agreement as well.

Arora said, “The ticket size is so little that it makes the process very unviable. It is time wastage to spend one month of pitch preparation for a two-month project.”

Money matters!

Generally, the final discussion on money matters happens in the final round of any pitch. The agency charging les to the brand has a chance to be selected which puts the other agency’s hard work in vain. A senior official, who didn’t want to be quoted, said that it has happened with them a few times that in the final round when they are almost about to win the account, the client selects the agency that charged less.

Too many participants in the pitch

It is also another big problem where clients call too many agencies for a pitch. This wastes the client’s as well as the agencies’ time. The flocking number of independent agencies joining pitches throws competition to the bigger ones. Too many ideas also make it difficult for the clients to choose and simultaneously put unnecessary pressure on the agencies to compete with the bunch of fellow colleagues from the industry.

Pandey said, “The clients who don’t know their mind and what they are looking for, generally invite everybody. The pitch meetings become crowded with too many agencies.”

Evaluation metrics of agencies not clear

Sethuraman explains this point really well. He said, “In the best conducted pitches, the clients’ criterion of evaluation is always clear. For example, they might decide to give significant weightage to the past work of the agency and its local office strength and low weightage to the actual pitch campaign. But often this is not transparent so agencies don’t know what they’re being judged on.”


Tech jobs changing face and costs of Western Washington

Image result for Tech jobs changing face and costs of Western WashingtonSEATTLE – As Seattle’s housing and rental markets continue to rise, we keep asking the questions who can afford to live here?  Experts point to the booming tech industry as part of the reason for the increase and lack of affordability.

A new report ‘Cyberstates 2017’ released today by CompTIA shows Washington as ninth in the nation for tech jobs while adding 10,600 jobs added in 2016.

The study reports the average person in Washington makes $57,800 a year. The average tech wage in Washington is $134,800. That’s 133% higher than the state average.

“Obviously, South Lake Union is definitely picking up,” said Amazon worker Michael Sharps.

It’s picking up and jacking up the price if you ask data engineer Shuvi Powers.

“The housing and the housing market out here is just insane,” said Powers.

The 440-foot-tall residential skyscraper Cirrus in Seattle has one 652 sq. ft. studio apartment available for $2,260/month, according to its website.  Just down the street at Skye Belltown, a studio apartment will run you up to $3,016, according to its website.

“Talking to people who just moved to the area, it’s a point of frustration to find a place that’s reasonably priced,” said Michael Sharps, who works at Amazon.

According to the report, Cyberstates 2017, employment at Amazon, Microsoft, Expedia and other tech companies grew a combined 5 percent last year.  Software engineer Carson Crawford says the word is out.

“I’ve encouraged all my friends to become software engineers because we’re hiring like crazy,” said Crawford.

Hiring and paying like crazy, according to the report, which shows Washington ranks second in the nation for average tech wages.

“The key is finding a company who pays competitively so you can sustain yourself out here,” said Powers.

For those who don’t, they likely can’t call Seattle or even King County their home anymore. That’s why the state is pushing for Washington students to go into STEM jobs or emphasis on math and science to fill up these companies with natives.

“It’s pretty rare to meet a Washington native and a Seattle native at that,” said Crawford.

But Amazon’s Sharps says there’s room for everybody. Transplant tech workers and those born and raised in the area should live and thrive together in a city that has affordability for different price points, he said.

“It’s something that as a community, we should look to work on,” said Sharps.

It’s a dilemma we’ve heard even from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray about embracing the job growth and economic boost, while working to find solutions for what the mayor calls the “affordability crisis.”


Put a Smile on Your Face With These 20 Creative Mousepads

032315 mousepads

When picking items for your office either at home or at work, consider some personalization to make your workspace your own.

The often overlooked mousepad is a great example. Choose one that tells who you are, boosts your morale and maybe … just maybe, makes you smile.

Check out this selection of creative mousepads guaranteed to be a little off the wall and off the beaten trail. See if one of them appeals to you. Or do your own search for a mousepad that says more about who you are and can cheer you up during days that just could have gone better. Enjoy!

45-Record Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

The personalized 45-record mouspad from The Music Stand looks like an old 45 but you don’t need to have grown up with vinyl records to appreciate it. Customize it with your favorite band and song or come up with whatever you want.

Aztec Mousepad With Matching Mouse

Creative Mousepads

Here’s one for those who love to coordinate. The trendy design on the Aztec Mousepad from Darkoolart on Etsy is mirrored on the accompanying mouse. You can be extra OCD and align the pattern on each.

Godzilla Retro Graphic Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

Go Go Godzilla! Fans of the classic monster will get a kick out of this graphicGodzilla Retro Graphic Mousepad available on Zazzle. With pops of eye catching color and an image of Tokyo’s favorite terror, this mousepad screams fun.

Dart Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

When you are ready to take a break from your busy day, this Dart Mousepad from MochiThings doubles as a dartboard. Slip it out from under your mouse and start a friendly game with coworkers.

Old Black Camera Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

The artwork featured on this Old Black Camera Mousepad available on Zazzle looks just like a vintage camera. It’s perfect for photography enthusiasts as well as those with an appreciation for all things retro.

Shoebox Veterinarian Diet Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

This Shoebox Veterinarian Diet Mousepad, also available from Zazzle, has a sense of humor, displaying a witty one-panel comic. Show this one to your co workers and the whole office will get a laugh.

Computer MouseRug

Creative Mousepads

Instead of a mousepad take a look at this Computer MouseRug from Vat 19. Yep, a mouse rug. Seven million yarn-dyed nylon fibers go into making one of these beauties. How’s that for high thread count?

Paintbox Water Color Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

The image on thisPaintbox Water Color mousepad from creator PepsiCarola at Etsy looks like messy fun. You can add a little creative flair to your desk and display your love for watercolor all at the same time.

Mouse Pad

Creative Mousepads

It’s a Mouse Pad! Get it? At this point you’re either laughing or rolling your eyes. If your reaction was the former, then take a look at this design by member Jaycodrew at Zazzle that makes light of its function but takes its puns seriously.

Chicken Heart Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

Show your love for barnyard fowl and do it with pride. This Chicken Heart Mousepad by designer Diane Jacky available at CafePress is a fun twist on the classic chicken motif. It’s just fun and happy!

Golf Ball Mouse and Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

If you love golf then you should take a look at this Golf Ball Mouse and Mousepad available from Amazon. A golf ball shaped mouse sits atop a mousepad turned golf course. This set comes complete with flag and mini club.

Scenes from Pride and Prejudice Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

Not everyone appreciates the classic Jane Austen novel, but you do! The Scenes from Pride and Prejudice Mousepad available from Zazzle features illustrated scenes for the novel reading geek in you.

Cheeseburger Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

A Cheeseburger Mousepad. Classic. Dream big while looking at this artistic creation from designer Windmill at CafePress featuring a double-decker burger bursting with toppings and oozing, gooey cheese. Is it time for lunch already?

Fall Leaf Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

There is something magical about jumping into a pile of leaves as a kid and the Fall Leaf Mousepad from MochiThings is reminiscent of that feeling. Featuring warm fall colors and cut into a leaf shape, his mousepad might leave you full of fond memories.

Sunny Side Up Eggs Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

There is just something about food-themed items that makes a person smile. Bright, sunny eggs stare back at you from this breakfast-inspired Sunny Side Up Eggs Mousepad from Rikki Knight LLC. Be careful not to burn yourself!

Sakura Gold Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

The Sakura Gold Mousepad from CasaBento is shiny and inspired by Japanese design. Sakura blossoms grace the golden surface of this desk accessory adding a touch of elegance to your day.

LED Lighted Mousepad


You might feel a bit like a computer hacker with this LED Lighted Mousepad available from Yeesn on Amazon. Or maybe it gives you more of a rave party feeling. Either way, it’s got a coolness factor that can’t be denied.

Ghost Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

It’s just so cute! The Ghost Mousepad from MochiThings may look like something out of a Halloween story but it’s too adorable to be scary. It can haunt your desk and brighten your mood all at the same time.

Retro Calculator Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

It’s a calculator. It’s a mousepad. It’s two things in one! The image on this Retro Calculator Mousepad frm will take you back in time and yet it contains a functional calculator. This is one that will keep your co-workers guessing.

Maple Mousepad

Creative Mousepads

For those with more high-end tastes, this Maple Mousepad from Grovemade offers both form and function. Its tanned leather surface also contains a natural maple wood tray to hold your favorite pen.

Hopefully you found these 20 mousepads above the ordinary office fare. Think about adding a little fun to your day, lift your spirits, and give yourself some inspiration with a creative mousepad of your own.

Mouse Photo via Shutterstock