Samsung wins court case to avoid being forced to update older phones

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Samsung has emerged victorious in a court case that would have compelled the organisation to carry on providing updates for its older smartphones for a longer period of time.

The Dutch Consumers' Association, also known as Consumentenbond, filed a legal case against the manufacturer in November 2016, arguing that Samsung should be legally required to continue providing timely Android updates for its handsets for at least two years after selling them, or for four years after the phones' launch.

Google regularly produces software updates to remedy newly-discovered security flaws, leaving it up to the respective manufacturers to distribute these updates to customers. Consumentenbond accused Samsung of failing to distribute these updates in a timely manner, while pointing out that many phones no longer received these patches at all.

Samsung currently guarantees that consumers in the Netherlands can receive software updates for two years after the launch of a given handset, and argued that updates are being provided in a reasonable timeframe, once the need for compatibility testing is taken into account.

Ultimately, a Dutch administrative court ruled that Consumentenbond's case was inadmissible, due to the fact that it is not possible to legislate for what kind of new security issues might arise in future, and compelling Samsung to take action over as-yet unknown problems would therefore be unenforceable.

In a statement to BBC News, Samsung said: "We are satisfied with the ruling. The judge has acknowledged that Samsung is doing more than enough to ensure safety of its products."

Conversely, Consumentenbond described the ruling as "disappointing", while noting that it believes it has achieved something nevertheless, noting that Samsung has started providing better information about its security practices since the court case was launched.