Apple has been sued in California with claims that the Californian company intentionally broke FaceTime on iOS 6.
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Apple in California this week, which claims Apple has forced users to upgrade to the new iOS 7 operating system, intentionally. The lawsuit claims that Apple broke FaceTime on iOS 6 in order to avoid paying a high data fee to Akamai. iOS 6 users, in order to use FaceTime, were forced to upgrade their operating system or older hardware. This forced iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S users to dump their smartphones.
According to AppleInsider, ‘Seemingly spawned from internal Apple documents disclosed during the VirnetX patent infringement lawsuit, which found Apple on the hook for $302.4 million in damages, the California action claims Apple intentionally broke FaceTime for devices running iOS 6 and earlier to avoid high monthly data relay charges from Akamai.’
Apple releases iOS 7 last year, which was best suited for newer hardware that makes up the iPhone 7. Though the OS is compatible with older smartphones, they are erratic and not bug-free. Additionally, iOS 7 is not compatible with iPhone 5 and below, forcing users to upgrade their hardware too.
FaceTime, launched in 2010, includes connecting two iPhone users by voice and video over a direct connection, but the second ‘relay method’ used third-party servers run by Akamai to shuttle the data back and forth. Earlier in 2012, Apple was found guilty of violating patents owned by VirnetX with its peer-to-peer technology, forcing the company to switch to the relay method for all FaceTime calls. This routed calls through the Akamai servers was costing Apple heavily. Apple was fined $50 million between April 2013 and September 2013, forcing the internal team to work on a cost saving alternative.
Apple then fixed this issue with Facetime on iOS 7 that uses a peer-to-peer standard, to avoid infringing on VirnetX patents. However, many users were still using iOS 6, which was forcing Apple to continue paying hefty data charges to Akamai.
The lawsuit thus claims that Apple, in order to save on its costs, allegedly broke FaceTime on iOS 6 by causing the digital certificate to expire earlier than dated. Apple then released a statement that claims FaceTime on iOS 6 had a bug.
‘If you started to have issues making or receiving FaceTime calls after April 16, 2014, your device or your friend’s device may have encountered a bug resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date. Updating both devices to the latest software will resolve this issue,’ claims the security post on Apple’s support website.
However, Apple’s engineers’ internal email conversation leaked out, revealing sensitive information that added more fuel to the fire. The leaked email conversation between the Apple engineers revealed the words that they intentionally broke iOS 6, which was the only way to force users to upgrade to iOS 7.
The email conversation is as below:
Engineer 1: “Hey, guys. I’m looking at the Akamai contract for next year. I understand we did something in April around iOS 6 to reduce relay utilization,” an Apple engineer manager stated.”
Engineer 2: “It was a big user of relay bandwidth. We broke iOS 6, and the only way to get FaceTime working again is to upgrade to iOS 7.”
This ‘worst’ move by Apple has rendered older devices such as iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s useless. Though older iPhones on older operating systems are still functioning well, they would buckle under the weight of the new iOS 7 operating system.
The lawsuit alleges that Apple violated the California unfair competition law and is responsible for interfering with another’s possession.