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Alleged planned obsolescence in the smartphone sector

The Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has started an investigation into a leading supplier of consumer electronics, alleging that software updates for a popular smartphone model had the effect of deteriorating the device’s performance. The ICA’s allegation relied on evidence from customers’ repair requests which showed an unusual peak following the release of software updates. Lear economists developed empirical analyses which showed that the spike was explained by factors different from the software updates, such as seasonality, the stock of devices sold up to that point and the average time elapsed since purchase.