Lawsuit Alleges Apple Broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to Force iOS 7 Upgrades, Save Money

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Christina Grace of California has filed a new class-action lawsuit that alleges Apple broke FaceTime in iOS 6 to force users to upgrade to iOS 7, reports AppleInsider. According to the lawsuit, Apple forced users to upgrade so it could avoid payments on a data deal with Akamai.


The class action found its genesis in internal Apple documents and emails disclosed in the VirnetX patent infringement lawsuit, which eventually ended in Apple paying $302 million after a retrial. Apple used two connection methods when launching 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 Akamai.

When Apple's peer-to-peer FaceTime technology was found to infringe on VirnetX's patents in 2012, Apple began to shift toward Akamai's servers to handle iPhone-to-iPhone connections. A year later, Apple was paying $50 million in fees to Akamai, according to testimony from the VirnetX trial. The class-action lawsuit, pointing to an internal email titled "Ways to Reduce Relay Usage," alleges that the growing fees were beginning to bother Apple executives.

Apple eventually solved the problem by creating new peer-to-peer technology that would debut in iOS 7. The class-action lawsuit, however, alleges that Apple created a fake bug that caused a digital certificate to prematurely expire on April 16, 2014, breaking FaceTime on iOS 6. Breaking FaceTime on iOS 6, the lawsuit claims, would allow Apple to save money on users who did not upgrade to iOS 7.

At the time, Apple recognized the bug, publishing a support document saying that users who were having FaceTime connectivity problems after April 16, 2014 could update to the latest software to fix the issue. The same support document eventually removed the date "April 16, 2014," according to AppleInsider.

The lawsuit later points to an internal Apple email chain in which an engineering manager mentions that they were looking at the Akamai contract for the upcoming year and understood that Apple "did something" to reduce usage of Akamai's services. Another engineer responded by pointing out iOS 6 leaned a lot on Akamai's services and that Apple "broke iOS 6" and the only way to fix FaceTime was to upgrade to iOS 7.

Apple's developer page pegged iOS 7 adoption at 87 percent on April 7, 2014, nearly 10 days before Apple allegedly broke iOS 6. The lawsuit claims that forcing iPhone 4s and 4 users to upgrade to iOS 7 was harmful to them because the software would allegedly crash more and run more slowly.

The lawsuit is seeking undisclosed damages and to prove Apple violated California's unfair competition law.

Article Link: Lawsuit Alleges Apple Broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to Force iOS 7 Upgrades, Save Money
 
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Buran

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2007
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Wouldn't it have been simpler to just renew the certificate? Or do they not work the way https certificates do?
 

autrefois

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Oct 22, 2003
1,384
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So what is the problem here? Apple doesn't charge for upgrades. They also stop supporting older software.
They (allegedly) crippled software that was working fine to force people to upgrade. You don't see anything wrong with that?

There are any number of reasons someone might not want to upgrade to the next OS, including the fact that older hardware tends to run newer software more slowly, as mentioned in the OP.

Would it be okay if they intentionally put in a bug to prevent WiFi from working unless you upgraded? To prevent voicemail from working properly?
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
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Wouldn't it have been simpler to just renew the certificate? Or do they not work the way https certificates do?
I don't know that the end user can do that unless they have above average skills with software. I've never come across a situation where I had to renew a certificate on an app. I think this way of breaking FT takes place in a way non techie users like me would not understand how to fix. So when told by Apple that the solution is to just upgrade the OS, we'd do it and not think about it much. Other than possibly miss the old OS. But remember this happened back when Apple fans were less jaded and expected the newer iterations of iOS to be the best ever. There was no question of upgrading for most of us. Apple kind of forces, nags and cajoles you into it anyway.

What this was, was kind of a crappy thing to do to Akamai. I'm no lawyer so I am guessing it's legal, but it was sneaky. I'm not sure if or how it might have violated any agreements they had with Akamai.

It's a sneaky thing to do to the customer and of course now that this has come to light it's going to give credence to the conspiracy theories that Apple does things to iOS upgrades that break down older devices or slows them down so you want to upgrade hardware.

I'm beginning to wonder that because my year old iPad mini 4 is choking on websites as badly as my second generation iPad mini did. In fact I now use them both equally when I'm not feeling like bothering keeping up with charging because they both run equally crappy. And people complain about Samsung phones lagging after a few months...well, I've got some issues with iPads. But before I break out the tinfoil hats, I will need to do more troubleshooting and sleuthing to make sure I'm not missing some key item of maintenance.
 

Buran

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2007
388
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I don't know that the end user can do that unless they have above average skills with software. I've never come across a situation where I had to renew a certificate on an app. I think this way of breaking FT takes place in a way non techie users like me would not understand how to fix. So when told by Apple that the solution is to just upgrade the OS, we'd do it and not think about it much. Other than possibly miss the old OS. But remember this happened back when Apple fans were less jaded and expected the newer iterations of iOS to be the best ever. There was no question of upgrading for most of us. Apple kind of forces, nags and cajoles you into it anyway.

What this was, was kind of a crappy thing to do to Akamai. I'm no lawyer so I am guessing it's legal, but it was sneaky. I'm not sure if or how it might have violated any agreements they had with Akamai.

It's a sneaky thing to do to the customer and of course now that this has come to light it's going to give credence to the conspiracy theories that Apple does things to iOS upgrades that break down older devices or slows them down so you want to upgrade.

I'm beginning to wonder that because my year old iPad mini 4 is choking on websites as badly as my second generation iPad mini did. In fact I now use them both equally when I'm not feeling like bothering keeping up with charging because they both run equally crappy. And people complain about Samsung phones lagging after a few months...well, I've got some issues with iPads. But before I break out the tinfoil hats, I will need to do more troubleshooting and sleuthing to make sure I'm not missing some key item of maintenance.
Oh, I meant, why didn't Apple just do that? Or is it baked into the software in such a way that an entire point update would have been needed? I'm not familiar enough with how exactly certificates work for this kind of thing.
 

Septembersrain

Contributor
Dec 14, 2013
3,847
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Texas
They (allegedly) crippled software that was working fine to force people to upgrade. You don't see anything wrong with that?

There are any number of reasons someone might not want to upgrade to the next OS, including the fact that older hardware tends to run newer software more slowly, as mentioned in the OP.

Would it be okay if they intentionally put in a bug to prevent WiFi from working unless you upgraded? To prevent voicemail from working properly?
I think what concerns me most is have they done a move like this since that time? Are there software tweaks that break things intentionally now? Tin foil hat aside and conspiracy theorists have arsenal now.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,832
27,282
I think what concerns me most is have they done a move like this since that time? Are there software tweaks that break things intentionally now? Tin foil hat aside and conspiracy theorists have arsenal now.
Like what? Give some examples.
 

The Cappy

macrumors 6502
Nov 9, 2015
286
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Dunwich Fish Market
As others have pointed out: the upgrade to iOS 7 was free. If Apple forced me to upgrade... who cares? The only people with a legitimate grievance might be the guys with EOL devices that couldn't be upgraded to iOS 7.
 

GrumpyMom

macrumors G3
Sep 11, 2014
8,851
12,716
Oh, I meant, why didn't Apple just do that? Or is it baked into the software in such a way that an entire point update would have been needed? I'm not familiar enough with how exactly certificates work for this kind of thing.
Apple didn't want people to upgrade their certificate nor did they want the certificate to auto upgrade. If I'm understanding what I read correctly, they intentionally set the certificate to expire. They created a bug to accomplish that. But their solution to the bug was to suggest an iOS upgrade. Because correct me if I'm wrong, but FaceTime is tied to the OS and upgrades to the iOS are how FaceTime is itself upgraded.

Upgrading to iOS 7 in turn lets them slip in the new peer to peer connectivity that would free them from using Akamai and paying fees to Akamai.

So they broke a feature of FaceTime to push an upgrade to iOS 7 that lets them keep more money and give none to Akamai.

In the long run this is bad for consumers because the consumer can't stay on older versions of iOS that work better for older devices. Not if they wanted to use FaceTime in that particular instance.

So the consumer ends up possibly having to pay to upgrade hardware they might have otherwise held onto for another year. And even though iOS upgrades are free, the hardware sure isn't. I think this is the crux of the consumer complaint.

And Akamai might have their own bone to pick with Apple.

It's a bit shady.
 
Last edited:

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
21,832
27,282
They (allegedly) crippled software that was working fine to force people to upgrade. You don't see anything wrong with that?

There are any number of reasons someone might not want to upgrade to the next OS, including the fact that older hardware tends to run newer software more slowly, as mentioned in the OP.

Would it be okay if they intentionally put in a bug to prevent WiFi from working unless you upgraded? To prevent voicemail from working properly?
Apple fixed the FaceTime issue for all devices that weren't eligible for iOS 7. Can these people prove that upgrading their software caused them real harm? I don't think a judge will rule in their favor just because iOS 7 might have made their 4S a bit slower.
[doublepost=1486096835][/doublepost]
Apple didn't want people to upgrade their certificate nor did they want the certificate to auto upgrade. If I'm understanding what I read correctly, they intentionally set the certificate to expire. They created a bug to accomplish that. But their solution to the bug was to suggest an iOS upgrade. Because correct me if I'm wrong, but FaceTime is tied to the OS and upgrades to the iOS are how FaceTime is itself upgraded.

Upgrading to iOS 7 in turn lets them slip in the new peer to peer connectivity that would free them from using Akamai and paying fees to Akamai.

So they broke a feature of FaceTime to push an upgrade to iOS that lets them keep more money and give none to Akamai
But they provided a software update for all devices that weren't eligible for iOS 7.
 

Freyqq

macrumors 601
Dec 13, 2004
4,022
172
How is this any different from what happens in tech all the time, for instance when Microsoft stopping support for Win XP and then something probably breaking? What damages can be proven if iOS7 is free?
 

weaselgopher

macrumors newbie
Nov 13, 2013
4
0



Christina Grace of California has filed a new class-action lawsuit that alleges Apple broke FaceTime in iOS 6 to force users to upgrade to iOS 7, reports AppleInsider. According to the lawsuit, Apple forced users to upgrade so it could avoid payments on a data deal with Akamai.


The class action found its genesis in internal Apple documents and emails disclosed in the VirnetX patent infringement lawsuit, which eventually ended in Apple paying $302 million after a retrial. Apple used two connection methods when launching 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 Akamai.

When Apple's peer-to-peer FaceTime technology was found to infringe on VirnetX's patents in 2012, Apple began to shift toward Akamai's servers to handle iPhone-to-iPhone connections. A year later, Apple was paying $50 million in fees to Akamai, according to testimony from the VirnetX trial. The class-action lawsuit, pointing to an internal email titled "Ways to Reduce Relay Usage," alleges that the growing fees were beginning to bother Apple executives.

Apple eventually solved the problem by creating new peer-to-peer technology that would debut in iOS 7. The class-action lawsuit, however, alleges that Apple created a fake bug that caused a digital certificate to prematurely expire on April 16, 2014, breaking FaceTime on iOS 6. Breaking FaceTime on iOS 6, the lawsuit claims, would allow Apple to save money on users who did not upgrade to iOS 7.

At the time, Apple recognized the bug, publishing a support document saying that users who were having FaceTime connectivity problems after April 16, 2014 could update to the latest software to fix the issue. The same support document eventually removed the date "April 16, 2014," according to AppleInsider.

The lawsuit later points to an internal Apple email chain in which an engineering manager mentions that they were looking at the Akamai contract for the upcoming year and understood that Apple "did something" to reduce usage of Akamai's services. Another engineer responded by pointing out iOS 6 leaned a lot on Akamai's services and that Apple "broke iOS 6" and the only way to fix FaceTime was to upgrade to iOS 7.

Apple's developer page pegged iOS 7 adoption at 87 percent on April 7, 2014, nearly 10 days before Apple allegedly broke iOS 6. The lawsuit claims that forcing iPhone 4s and 4 users to upgrade to iOS 7 was harmful to them because the software would allegedly crash more and run more slowly.

The lawsuit is seeking undisclosed damages and to prove Apple violated California's unfair competition law.

Article Link: Lawsuit Alleges Apple Broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to Force iOS 7 Upgrades, Save Money
[doublepost=1486097258][/doublepost]What about the 4th generation iPod touch that couldn't update to iOS 7? FaceTime just stopped working on them?
 
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