A couple of years ago, a Dutch consumer advocacy group put the screws to Samsung by suing them over the company’s update practices. Samsung’s goal is to deliver major updates for 2 years of a device’s life, though that’s not really a hard requirement of theirs — there have been instances where updates have ceased before hitting that mark, as well as instances where updates have continued well beyond.
The group’s argument is that Samsung should not only be legally bound to this 2-year mark, but it should also apply from the date a consumer purchases their device, not the day the device was made available for sale.
A Dutch court has actually decided to hear the case out. Samsung will effectively have to defend their stance on software updates. We’re not sure if anything damning will come out of the process, as Samsung is likely to argue that they’ve only ever mentioned their 2-year update mark as a guideline and not as a hard rule. Then there’s the matter of whether the Netherlands will actually enforce something like this.
One of the hiccups we can see right away is determining when an appropriate cut-off point is. If someone buys a Galaxy S9 on eBay 4 years from now, Samsung surely can’t be bothered to update that one person’s phone for another two years beyond that.
The move, then, would be to limit the effective window for as long as Samsung continues producing and selling new devices, whether that’s through carriers, retailers, or their own stores.
Even that will be tricky for the company to work out, as they’d potentially have to pool resources to updating the handset that they would have otherwise used on newer goods, and all of that will have been for one relatively small market out of hundreds of them. The good thing about that scenario is that Samsung would likely extend any extra love to other regions in order to get their money’s worth.
But again, this all depends on how the court decides to rule on this one, and whether there’s any argument here at all. The court proceedings should see to it that we figure it out one way or the other.