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Apple broke FaceTime on purpose, lawsuit says

by Todd Haselton | February 3, 2017February 3, 2017 6:00 am PDT

A class action lawsuit filed in California by a woman named Christina Grace yesterday alleges that Apple intentionally broke FaceTime’s functions in iOS 6 in an effort to force users to iOS 7. Just a quick reminder: we’re now on iOS 10, but the suit digs back into Apple’s history of FaceTime to suggest that Apple pushed consumers to upgrade to iOS 7 for financial gain.

The lawsuit summarizes an early legal battle Apple faced against VirnetX, which accused Apple’s FaceTime of infringing on patents related to its peer-to-peer video technology. Apple changed FaceTime to use relay technology instead of peer-to-peer, but found that it was paying way too much out of the pocket for hosting to a firm named Akamai.

Its solution was to develop a new version of FaceTime using relay technology that didn’t infringe on VirnetX’s patents. In order to make that switch, it needed users to upgrade to iOS 7, and ultimately broke the version of FaceTime in iOS 6 to avoid paying fees to Akamai, the suit says.

Not the first iPhone 4s lawsuit

The suit further alleges that iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s units that were forced to upgrade to iOS 7 were suddenly prone to crashing, slower performance and erratic behavior. The suit says Apple was well aware of the problem, but instead told its userbase that FaceTime was turned off because of a “bug.” These allegations will need to be proved in court, but the early filing suggests there’s already some evidence Apple was well aware it wasn’t just a bug.

This isn’t the first time the iPhone 4s has been involved in a class action lawsuit. Last year, consumers filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple alleging that the iOS 9 update made their devices unusable.

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Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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