Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has finally agreed to settle the class-action lawsuit over its phone batteries by paying up to a whopping $500 million and if you were one among their victims, you might just end up getting a very small cut of that!
According to a recent report, the tech behemoth Apple has reportedly agreed to pay $25 per phone to qualified iPhone owners in the US. Although, depending on the number of claims filed, the amount could be changed or adjusted. However, $310 million is the least minimum amount the company needs to shell out. There are over 100 million iPhone users in the US.
This settlement will cover for the devices which installed the software updates before December 21, 2017. Models that are to be covered under this settlement are iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and iPhone SE. However, a federal judge still needs to approve the settlement.
This whole controversy first began in 2016, when iPhone 6 users began complaining about their smartphones shutting down all of a sudden even after having sufficient battery life left. Apple took notice of this and responded by admitting that very few iPhone 6s were facing this battery issue and therefore, offered free battery replacements for these models. However, the same issue was being reported by users of other iPhone models as well. Apple once again responded but this time with a software update which reduced the shutdowns to a large extent.
It was only in December 2017, when the company had to admit that the update they had rolled out throttled the phone’s performance to fix the problem of shutdowns. They further put out a reasonable statement wherein they said they were simply trying to compensate for the degradation of ageing batteries.
However, many customers believed that this move by Apple was to dupe their existing customers with older models to upgrade to newer ones. Apple not telling its users the updates would slow down their phones didn’t help its case and therefore showed they lacked transparency.
Apple had to apologize amid the growing outcry of their user base and then came up with the offering of replacing batters in certain phones for a cheap price tag of only $29 rather than the usual $79. They also rolled out another software update which allowed users to turn off the feature of throttling.
Apple’s U.S. customers still went on to file multiple class-action lawsuits which were later consolidated into one which is being settled by Apple right now. Countries including France, Italy and Korea fined Apple millions of dollars over this issue as well. However, those fines are way less in comparison to the $500 million Apple will payout right now.
Apple’s Consistent Lack of Transparency
Apple has repeatedly been in trouble for their anti-competitive behaviour and lack of transparency, therefore, this is no different. The company previously had settled for a lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice over the price-fixing of their ebooks by shelling out a whopping $450 million wherein their customers received micro amounts between $1.57 and $6.93 per ebook. However, this time Apple has promptly agreed to pay the amount they have been asked to as opposed to the price-fixing lawsuit wherein they dragged it over several years and took it all the way up to the Supreme Court.
On Apple’s part, it definitely doesn’t look good for them paying out a nine-figure settlement because of deceiving customers. It would have possibly looked even worse and costed them more if they had taken this case to the court as well and lost.
While Apple no more discloses the sales number of iPhone, it’s estimated that about 190 million iPhones were sold in 2019. According to its latest earnings reports, Apple has over $207 billion in cash on hand, so paying out $500 million doesn’t appear to make any noticeable dent on the company’s book.