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.

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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.

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Top Rated Comments

Kabeyun Avatar
54 months ago
So one suit settled for chump change (that naturally went to the lawyers) and one suit dismissed outright. Not much to see here.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wanted797 Avatar
54 months ago

So one suit settled for chump change (that naturally went to the lawyers) and one suit dismissed outright. Not much to see here.
Why do you think Lawyers take on ridiculous class actions?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jgleigh Avatar
54 months ago
Are they going to sue for lack of 32-bit support in Catalina next? These lawsuits are ridiculous.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
enigmatut Avatar
54 months ago
I see this through two lenses:
[LIST=1]
* What was Apple’s intention/motive?
* What was the ultimate impact to the consumer?

Regarding #2, and apologies to a few of the posters here, I have no sympathy for those who could have resolved the issue by upgrading to iOS7 but chose not to. Having worked in software (in some form or another) for nearly 20 years I consistently see the calculus a company has to make with regards to pissing off the fewest customers, and in my experience there is always someone not happy, even if you bend over backwards with some alternative accommodation.
And bugs (or “bugs”, as it were) are oh so often fixed in newer versions, often times paid upgrades.
I have some sympathy for people whose device didn’t support iOS7, but that takes us back to the 3GS and original iPad, which I believe were such a low % of users at the time it was an easy calculation for Apple at the time.

NOW, regarding #1: v sh*tty of Apple to intentionally do this to save money, as alleged, and without some transparency (i.e., “due to our new wiz-bang technology FaceTime will only work on iOS7 and above starting on [x] date, and we’ve made sure iOS7 will work for you and you and you kind sir!”)

I’m no lawyer so I have to concede that if the case were not thrown out there must have been, at the very least, a compelling argument by the plaintiff that allowed it to move forward, and it entirely possible Apple has some department of tech law nerds who vet some decisions and arrive at the conclusion “yeah, maybe we’ll take some heat and have to settle for ... eh, $15-20 mil someday?” to which the execs say “ha! chump change! proceed, minions!
;)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Six0Four Avatar
54 months ago

Very much so. I was one of them who hated iOS 7 so much, I refused to update my iPhone 4S for it. Then I lost FaceTime entirely when my family got iOS 7 on their devices.
Wow crazy. So i gotta ask, why continue to buy Apple products if you're so sure they screwed you ?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RalfTheDog Avatar
54 months ago
So Apple was accused of no longer supporting software because, the old software cost them money. I don't see the problem.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)