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.


In the News: Legal Heroes, Wix Make Big Announcements

There are plenty of online resources available for helping small businesses find legal resources. But obtaining actual legal counsel has still been a relatively involved process — until now. Legal Hero just introduced a new service that offers on-demand legal help for small businesses.

In addition, Web building software company Wix made headlines recently with an announcement of its own.

Read about these news items and more in this week’s Small Business Trends News and Information Roundup.

New Features

Looking for General Counsel? This Site May Do the Trick

Legal Hero, an online portal designed to connect small businesses and entrepreneurs with legal help, has introduced a new service that will provide “on-demand” legal counsel for these companies.

New Wix Web Editor Launched to Make Sites Easier to Build, the drag and drop Web design platform, has just announced a full redesign of its cloud based Web editing software. The redesign introduces a range of new features, including some to help businesses personalize and tailor their sites to be more effective. If you are a do-it-yourselfer when it comes to your small business and its website, you may already be familiar with


Crowdfunding Platform Kickstarter is Now a Public Benefit Corporation

It’s not unusual for businesses to proclaim their commitment to the greater good, although only a few actually live up to their promises. That’s why Kickstarter’s decision to reincorporate as a public benefit corporation has pleasantly surprised many. The crowdfunding company has joined the ranks of organizations like Patagonia and This American Life to take this big step.

Social Media

Is the Twitter 140 Character Limit About to Change?

One of Twitter’s trademark features is its 140 character limit. But is that about to change? A report from ReCode suggests the social media company is considering a product or feature allowing users to create longer-form content on the service.

Are YouTube Advertisers Paying for Bots?

A new study by European researchers questions the reliability of the method used by Google to charge advertisers for YouTube ads. In their study (PDF), the researchers claim that Google charges advertisers for YouTube views even when YouTube’s systems flag a view as coming from a robot rather than a human.

Facebook Notes Transforms into a Publishing Platform

The long-forgotten Facebook Notes feature is finally getting a much needed makeover. The refreshed feature now comes with exciting new tools to add images, format layout and resize photos — and is available to everyone. Facebook published a post to announce the official roll-out of the revamped feature currently available on its desktop version.


Dennis Mortensen of Artificial Intelligence is Driving the Rise of Virtual Agents

I’ve been using the Amazon Echo device for almost a year. And most of what I do is ask Alexa — the virtual assistant in Echo — what the weather is, who won the Rams game, add batteries to my shopping list, or even to play the new song from Prince. I also use Siri to dial people on my iPhone when I’m in the car.

The First LG Laptops Are on Their Way to the U.S. Market

LG, the Korean electronics giant known for its smartphones, appliances and tablets is bringing its first laptops to the U.S. market. The company announced the release of the Gram series of laptops in a press release recently. The machines, named Gram to highlight their light weight, are available in 13-inch and 14-inch models.

9 Photo Apps for Windows 10 to Spruce Up Your Images

Nearly everything associated with your small business online presence — and some offline tasks — requires having top-notch images. These images have proven to be vital for social media updates and to make your website look a little better. Quality images can also spruce up presentations and more.


Biz2Credit Index Sees Institutional Lending Continue to Climb

While institutional lenders continued to gain ground on the small business lending front, Biz2Credit’s Small Business Lending Index for August saw a slight slump for big and small banks. Biz2Credit ascribed the 0.1 point drop to the issues related to the Small Business Administration reaching its $18.75 billion spending cap in late July.

Small Biz Spotlight

Spotlight: GreyCampus Offers a New Way to Train Your Team

Training employees in different areas of your business can be a time-consuming and expensive process. You want employees to learn from an actual instructor who knows what he or she is talking about. But the smallest of businesses don’t always have the personnel available to drop their own work and train new team members. That’s where GreyCampus comes in.


Here Are 6 New Devices from Microsoft’s Mega Event

Microsoft just wrapped up a live event in New York. There, the company announced a fleet of new products it is calling the new era of Windows 10 devices. Two new Surface devices, several Lumia phone,s and a HoloLens — yeah, one you might actually be able to buy — top the list of the most interesting devices unveiled.

The Moto X Pure Edition is an Anti-Bloatware Smartphone

The Moto X Pure Edition is the third and latest iteration of the Moto X, and surprisingly priced lower than 2014’s Moto X. It’s the first Motorola phone with which Lenovo has been involved. And the device may become best known for what it doesn’t have rather than for what it does.

Stagefright Update: Your Android Phone May Still be Vulnerable

It looks like Stagefright strikes again. The security bug that preyed upon phones running versions of Android OS between 2.2 and 4, has now reared its head to attack devices running Android 5.0 and above. Joshua J. Drake, Zimperium zLabs vice president of research, has found another security issue in Android called Stagefright 2.0.

LG Launches Smartphone with Multimedia Capabilities

LG has introduced a new smartphone series. Dubbed the V series, this fleet of new mobile devices was launched recently with the unveiling of the LG V10. And the company boasts there are many more “firsts” coming with this newest phone. Perhaps most noteworthy is LG’s claim that the V10 represents the “first” smartphone with “multimedia capabilities never seen in a mobile device.

More 4G for India and Africa? Here’s How Your Business Benefits

Emerging markets such as India and Africa are focused on the potential of high-speed mobile connectivity to boost their economies like never before. As a result, faster 4G connections are rapidly gaining momentum in these markets. For small businesses — including those in the U.S. — this could open a window of exciting opportunities too.

Samsung Will Actually Pay You to Buy This Device

Samsung is literally paying for customers to buy its smartphones. The company is lagging behind Apple in smartphone sales lately and hopes paying the first three months of a new customer’s phone installment payment will sway some people to try one of its devices. The company’s offer lasts until Oct. 16.

Toshiba Upgrades Chromebook 2 With Better Processors

Chromebooks are designed to work out of the box without adding anything else. This has proven to be a very successful delivery model in different segments, but especially in education, where it has seen the highest adoption rates. As a company that makes one of the better Chromebooks, Toshiba has launched the second iteration of its Chromebook 2.

10.2 Inch Tablet Coming From Google: Meet Pixel C

Among the many announcements made at Google’s Nexus event on Tuesday, including two new Nexus phones, the company revealed their all in-house 10.2 inch tablet, the Pixel C. You may recognize the Pixel name. Google released the original Chromebook Pixel several years ago, the newest version having come out earlier this year.


India Funding Roundup: An Online Legal Services Provider, Loan Marketplace, and More

India Funding Roundup: An Online Legal Services Provider, Loan Marketplace, and More

Our latest funding roundup compiles seed stage investments in Indian subscription based grocery delivery startups, legal services providers, loan application portals, and proximity marketing firms.

Noida-based Deal4Loans, a loan information and application portal that provides information on personal, home, car and business loans, and credit cards from different banks has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from international investors, including Ram Shriram, Neeraj Arora, Samir Sood, and Puru Vashishtha. Founded in 2009, the company has reportedly booked over Rs. 10,000 crores in loans through seven million customers.

Online legal service provider LegalRaasta has reportedly raised Rs. 6.5 crores in an angel round from Praveen Khandelwal and Yatin Kumar. Founded in 2015 by siblings Himanshu Jain and Pulkit Jain, the startup helps with company formation, trademark, and filing of IT returns, and offers a door step services with a 30-day money back guarantee.

Pune-based Raincan, a subscription-based grocery delivery startup has reportedly raised an additional angel funding of Rs. 1 crore from existing investors and Aniruddha Malpani. Founded in 2015, the startup provides an app for Android users, and delivers items such as dairy, meat, bakery, fruits and vegetables.

Mumbai-based proximity marketing firm BeaconsTalk has reportedly raised under $100,000 (Rs. 66 lakhs) in a pre-Series A round of funding. The startup has deployed 1,500 sensors and plans to grow to around 10,000 sensors by October.

Actor Anil Kapoor has reportedly invested an undisclosed sum in, a California-based video social network, and now appears in a promotional video on the website’s homepage. The platform was founded by Neel Grover and Greg Giraudi in 2013, and plans to launch in India on April 28.

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apps, BeaconsTalk, Deal4Loans, Funding, Indi, India, Internet, Investment, LegalRaasta, RainCan, Startups

Apple Said to Have Hired a Corporate Security Officer Amid Legal Battle With the US

Apple Said to Have Hired a Corporate Security Officer Amid Legal Battle With the US

Apple Inc, amid a pitched battle with the US government over law enforcement’s desire to crack into iPhones, has hired a new security executive to oversee its corporate digital defences, people familiar with the matter said.

Apple appointed George Stathakopoulos, formerly vice president of information security at Amazonand before that Microsoft Corp’s general manager of product security, to be vice president of corporate information security, the people said.

Apple declined to comment on the new hire, but a reporter calling Apple and asking to speak with him was connected to a person answering ‘George’s office’. Stathakopoulos did not immediately return the call.

Stathakopoulos reports to Apple’s chief financial officer and will be responsible for protecting corporate assets, such as the computers used to design products and develop software, as well as data about customers. The company’s heads of hardware and software remain in charge of protecting users of Apple’s products.

Stathakopoulos started a week ago at Apple, according to people familiar with matter, after working since 2010 at Amazon, which has a strong reputation among security professionals. Before that he worked more than eight years as a general manager at Microsoft, which is seen as having improved its security over the past decade and a half.

The new post is a sign of increased focus on security issues at Apple. The world’s most valuable publicly traded company is locked in an unprecedented fight with the US Justice Department, which wants Apple to write software to allow it to get data from an iPhone 5c used by a shooter in the San Bernardino killing spree.

Apple and many allies in the technology industry argue that forcing the company to write such software would set a precedent that would apply to other cases and companies. Prosecutors say they are focused on a single phone.

In addition to that fight, which may well reach the US Supreme Court, Apple must ward off attempts to compromise its defences by hackers eager to get information about its customers, Apple software, and corporate proprietary information.

Viruses, ransomware and other malicious byproducts of the Internet era historically have been a bigger threat to Windows computers and Android phones, but the increased market share of Apple products have made them more popular targets.

© Thomson Reuters 2016

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apple, Apple vs FBI, Encryption, FBI, George Stathakopoulos, iPhone