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Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

Apple will pay states $113 million in a settlement over allegations that the phone maker secretly throttled speeds on older iPhones to extend battery life, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: 34 states were involved in the investigation, which alleges that starting in December 2016, Apple released a software update reducing performance to keep some iPhones from unexpectedly shutting down.

  • The states allege Apple did this without telling customers or offering battery replacements.

Why it matters: The settlement comes as Apple is facing scrutiny from Capitol Hill and elsewhere on antitrust matters, especially for its rigid App Store policies.

  • On Wednesday, Apple announced it would be taking a smaller cut from App Store sales for businesses that earn less than $1 million selling their apps, reducing the 30% commission to 15%.

What they're saying: The state attorneys general allege that Apple's failure to inform customers about the battery issues helped it sell more iPhones to customers whose devices had slowed.

  • "What became clear in this case, when we sat down with officials from Apple, is there was a disconnect with them seeing why this could be a problem," Brnovich told Axios. "They thought they did absolutely nothing wrong. ... Sometimes with people in the tech industry, they don't always appreciate an average consumer understands the product as well as they do."

Apple also agreed to tell customers the truth about battery health, performance and management, as part of the settlement.

  • Apple still denies the allegations and has admitted no wrongdoing or violation of the law.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Updated Jan 27, 2021 - Technology

Apple's quarterly sales top $100 billion for first time

Credit: Apple

Spurred by strong sales of the latest iPhones, Apple reported it took in a record $111 billion in revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31, as the company crushed expectations.

Why it matters: The move showed even a pandemic didn't dull demand for Apple's latest smartphones.

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

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