Apple wins $1.63 million "batterygate" lawsuit in South Korea

Asian Tech Press (Feb 3) -- Apple has won a $1.63 million "batterygate" class-action lawsuit in South Korea.

Tens of thousands of South Korean iPhone users lost a lawsuit Thursday seeking damages from Apple Inc., alleging that the company deliberately degraded the performance of older models to force users to buy newer ones.

The Seoul Central District Court in South Korea ruled against 9,851 iPhone users who sued Apple and sought 2 billion won ($1.63 million) in damages, but gave no specific reason for the decision. The court also ordered the plaintiffs to pay their legal fees.

Hannuri, the law firm representing the iPhone users, said it would review whether to appeal.

The long-running "batterygate" lawsuit dated back to late 2017, when there were allegations that Apple deliberately degraded the performance of some iPhone models to ensure the devices' battery life met demand.

South Korean consumers filed the lawsuit in 2018, alleging that Apple deliberately concealed that iPhone batteries might have difficulty running the latest iOS software. Instead of recalling the product or offering a replacement battery, the company suggested that users download the latest software updates.

The plaintiffs alleged that their iPhones experienced degraded performance after the update, involving models including the iPhone 6 and iPhone 7.

Apple initially denied intentionally degrading the performance of older models, but later claimed that it did so to extend battery life and argued that the move was not intended to get users to buy new phones.

In total, including this lawsuit, more than 62,000 Korean users have filed similar lawsuits against Apple seeking 12.7 billion won ($10.3 million) in damages, with each user seeking an average of 200,000 won.

(US$1 = 1230.7117 won)

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