In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

How Honest Do Companies Need to Be?

In the wake of the recent Apple iPhone throttling scandal, it is clear that even the most loved companies need to ensure that certain actions are not just transparent, but rather crystal clear.

If you are in the dark about the Apple controversy, and you use an iPhone 6, 6S, 7, or SE, you may want to turn your screen brightness down for this: Last year, Apple started throttling (or slowing down) older iPhones (the 7 was only recently added to the list of throttled devices) on purpose. This move has a perfectly rational explanation, but unfortunately when tech geeks discovered the slow down was intentionally caused by Apple, the conspiracy theories began flying, and Apple had a bit of a PR debacle.

Slowing Down for Better Performance

In Apple's case, the throttling was implemented in order to ensure that their devices would provide the best user experience as the batteries in the devices age. After a certain number of charge cycles (reportedly, well over 500), the battery can no longer power everything as well. As such, Apple released an update to slow down certain processes to prevent components from failing, or causing the devices to shut down. 

However, because the throttling was never announced, when the public discovered it, the logical explanation the public jumped to was that Apple was trying to force people to update by slowing down their phones. As Apple explained, this is the farthest thing from the truth as the throttling only triggers when the device batteries can no longer operate at peak performance. As such, the throttling is actually designed to ensure the phones continue to operate beyond the batteries expected lifespan.

Corporate Transparency Is Paramount

As the above example shows, corporate transparency is critical. Had Apple announced this as a feature to prolong a device's lifespan, it is less likely that there would have been the same level of mass outrage and vitriol directed at the decision.

And in case you're wondering just how important honesty and transparency are for corporations, the survey says it's actually the most important factor for consumers. Honest communication is followed by "not letting customers down" and acting with integrity.

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