Apple to Pay $18 Million to Settle California Lawsuit Claiming Apple 'Broke' FaceTime on Older iPhones to Save Costs
Apple has agreed to pay $18 million to settle a California class-action lawsuit that accused it of intentionally breaking FaceTime in iOS 6 to force users to upgrade to iOS 7.
According to the lawsuit, originally filed in 2017, Apple forced users to upgrade so it could avoid payments on a data deal with Akamai.
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 lawsuit 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.
According to Law360.com, Apple agreed to settle the case with the $18 million payout, although the majority of the money will go to paying attorney fees and expenses, with only a fraction going to the class action's representatives and claimants.
A court in Florida dismissed a similar consumer lawsuit earlier this year alleging Apple broke FaceTime on older iPhones to save costs.