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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.

facetime-e1486093308787.jpg

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.

Article Link: Apple to Pay $18 Million to Settle California Lawsuit Claiming Apple 'Broke' FaceTime on Older iPhones to Save Costs
 

69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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So one suit settled for chump change (that naturally went to the lawyers) and one suit dismissed outright. Not much to see here.
Kind of an interesting conclusion you've drawn. Not sure how you got there though. The Florida case wasn't dismissed due to lack of merit. It was dismissed for not meeting timeliness requirements: filed too late. So you really can't factor the Florida decision into your conclusion calculus. Minus Florida, you might come to a different conclusion.

Seems Apple just decided that since this is a small class action only covering California plaintiffs (small class/small settlement), it would be more cost effective to settle than litigate further.

...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 few more details from the 9to5mac article:
Through the settlement, 90% of the class action members will receive compensation, either through the mail or electronically. 3.6 million devices are said to have been affected by the update, and each class member will receive an estimated $3. The case was scheduled for trial this month.

“The class is defined as all California owners of non-jailbroken Apple iPhone 4 or 4S devices with iOS 6 or earlier operating systems,” according to the report. 30% of the settlement fund will go to the class counsel, while the two original named plaintiffs will each get $7,500.
 
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Kabeyun

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They'll just move more jobs to India/China to make up the cost difference.
What cost? $18M? That’s pocket change to the likes of Apple.
Kind of an interesting conclusion you've drawn. Not sure how you got there though. The Florida case wasn't dismissed due to lack of merit. It was dismissed for not meeting timeliness requirements: filed too late. So you really can't factor the Florida decision into your conclusion calculus. Minus Florida, you might come to a different conclusion.

Seems Apple just decided that since this is a small class action only covering California plaintiffs (small class/small settlement), it would be more cost effective to settle than litigate further.


A few more details from the 9to5mac article:
Through the settlement, 90% of the class action members will receive compensation, either through the mail or electronically. 3.6 million devices are said to have been affected by the update, and each class member will receive an estimated $3. The case was scheduled for trial this month.

“The class is defined as all California owners of non-jailbroken Apple iPhone 4 or 4S devices with iOS 6 or earlier operating systems,” according to the report. 30% of the settlement fund will go to the class counsel, while the two original named plaintiffs will each get $7,500.
Thx for filling in detail. My point was broader though. If this were a big problem where the Consumer Public were adversely affected, you’d think it would’ve been more widespread than small class actions in all of two states, one of which didn’t even file on time.
 
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msp3

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So where can I claim my $6.75 in iTunes credit!?

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.

Watch The Good Wife/The Good Fight on CBS. It's a very legit business model for law firms (much less so for actual class members)
 

ericinboston

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Jan 13, 2008
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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.
I agree with you 100%. I was in the exact same situation and was furious! I shouldn't have to "upgrade" to a new, major version OS to fix a bug. It should have been a point release and easily could have been.
 
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69Mustang

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Thx for filling in detail. My point was broader though. If this were a big problem where the Consumer Public were adversely affected, you’d think it would’ve been more widespread than small class actions in all of two states, one of which didn’t even file on time.
Apologies, but none of that context came through in the two sentences of your original quote. The subcontext (why not more widespread) you've created is even less clear. Class actions are almost always local. It's rare to find one that goes national or even regional. Besides, I don't think anyone classified this as a big problem... because it wasn't imo. Remember, Apple's sales numbers on the 4 and 4S at that time weren't stratospheric like today's iPhone sales.

I personally think it only gained real interest because of the apparent smoking gun email trail that allegedly supported the idea that Apple crippled iOS6 to avoid paying large sums of money to Akamai. That email trail is one of the primary reasons I think Apple settled. Going to trial could have led to more damaging discovery.
Patently Apple had a nice detailing. I used the link to the Florida case since it contained the same info. Excerpt:
"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," Apple engineering manager Patrick Gates said in an email to employees. The message was met with a response from engineer Gokul Thirumalai, who said, "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."
 
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ScreenSavers

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Feb 26, 2016
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Since when has Apple made multiple update options available? It's the same way today. If you have an iPhone 5S or 6, you can update it to 12.4.6. 12.4.1 I believe was the latest iOS 12 update for the 6S and later. What if you have a 6S through XS and want to stay on iOS 12? You'll still have unpatched bugs. Solution? Upgrade to iOS 13.

It was the same in 2013. They released updates to fix FaceTime on the 4th generation iPod touch, and the iPhone 3G S didn't have FaceTime. If you wanted the bugs fixed, upgrade to iOS 7.

Seems like how it should be to me...
 
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enigmatut

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Jan 28, 2008
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I see this through two lenses:
  1. What was Apple’s intention/motive?
  2. 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!
;)
 

Scottsoapbox

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Oct 10, 2014
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Our civil legal system: 6 years later the attorneys get money and the corporation doesn't even have to acknowledge past wrong doing let alone alter future actions in any way.
 
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mazz0

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I have no sympathy for those who could have resolved the issue by upgrading to iOS7 but chose not to.

Is the point that some people couldn't do this because their device wasn't compatible with iOS7? If so, this is still odd - even if Apple did break the relay system on purpose by causing the cert to expire, they could surely have released an iOS6 patch to switch it to use the peer-to-peer system? After all, it's in Apple's interested if people buying new iPhones can FaceTime their friend who have old iPhones. Unless there was a hardware imitation that prevented the peer to peer system working on the older phones?
 

I7guy

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Nov 30, 2013
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Our civil legal system: 6 years later the attorneys get money and the corporation doesn't even have to acknowledge past wrong doing let alone alter future actions in any way.
Which one is the real issue? 1) the attorneys get money or 2) the corporation doesn't even have to acknowledge past wrong doing let alone alter future actions in any way.

Seems the 18 million absolves Apple from #2.
 

RalfTheDog

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Feb 23, 2010
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Is the point that some people couldn't do this because their device wasn't compatible with iOS7? If so, this is still odd - even if Apple did break the relay system on purpose by causing the cert to expire, they could surely have released an iOS6 patch to switch it to use the peer-to-peer system? After all, it's in Apple's interested if people buying new iPhones can FaceTime their friend who have old iPhones. Unless there was a hardware imitation that prevented the peer to peer system working on the older phones?
I would guess, it would involve porting over large libraries. I would suspect, the older phones would not have the RAM to support the older libraries and the newer ones. If they did, it would probably come with greatly reduced performance. (Lots of swapping between RAM and storage.)
 
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