Florida Court Dismisses Lawsuit Claiming Apple 'Broke' FaceTime on Older iPhones to Save Costs
In 2017, a similar class-action lawsuit was brought against Apple in California that claimed Apple broke FaceTime in iOS 6 to force users to upgrade to iOS 7. According to the lawsuit, Apple forced users to upgrade so it could avoid payments on a data deal with Akamai.
Apple agreed in February to settle the lawsuit in California, but the federal court in the Florida case ruled on Tuesday that the claims against Apple did not meet timeliness requirements. According to U.S. District Court Judge Raag Singhal, the complainants had several chances to file suit against Apple, but didn't lodge their complaint until August 2019.
Apple used two connection methods when it launched FaceTime in 2010: a peer-to-peer method that created a direct connection between two iPhones, and a relay method that used data servers from content delivery network company Akamai Technologies.
Apple's peer-to-peer FaceTime technology was found to infringe on VirnetX's patents in 2012, however, so the company began to shift toward the relay method, which used Akamai's servers. Within a year, Apple was paying $50 million in fees to Akamai, according to testimony from the VirnetX trial.
Apple eventually solved the problem by creating new peer-to-peer technology that would debut in iOS 7. The class-action lawsuits, however, alleged that Apple created a fake bug that caused a digital certificate to prematurely expire on April 16, 2014, breaking FaceTime on iOS 6.
The lawsuits claimed that breaking FaceTime in iOS 6 allowed Apple to save money because it would no longer need to support users who did not upgrade to iOS 7.