Apple sued for 2nd time over iMessage failure to deliver texts to Android phones

“Plaintiffs Adam Backhaut and Bouakhay Joy Backhaut of Macomb County, Michigan and Kenneth Morris of Riverside County, California have launched a Class Action against Apple in San Jose,” Jack Purcher reports for Patently Apple. “The case is about Apple’s iMessage not working properly with Android smartphones. This latest Class Action lawsuit was filed yesterday – just one day after Californian Adrienne Moore filed her Class Action against Apple over the very same issue.”

“Plaintiff Adam Backhaut purchased an iPhone 5 in December 2012 at a Best Buy store in Michigan. At the time of purchase, a Best Buy employee set up his iPhone 5, including iMessage. Mr. Backhaut used the iPhone 5 for approximately one year,” Purcher reports. “Plaintiff Joy Backhaut purchased an iPhone 5 at the same time and place as her husband and a Best Buy employee also set up her iPhone 5, including iMessage.”

“In December 2013, Plaintiff Adam Backhaut purchased an “‘HTC One’ for approximately $250.00, which runs an Android operating system, and switched the number previously associated with his iPhone 5 to his new phone,” Purcher reports. “Following Mr. Backhaut’s switch to an Android based phone, Mrs. Backhaut continued to text her husband as she had previously used the Messages app on her iPhone. When Mrs. Backhaut texted her husband, her iPhone indicated that the texts she was sending were “delivered.” In fact, Mr. Backhaut never received these messages. The messages continued to be intercepted by Apple’s iMessage system, despite the fact that the Plaintiff was no longer an iPhone user.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Solution: Don’t downgrade from an iPhone to an inferior iPhone knockoff.

In the immortal words of Ben Stern, “I told you not to be stupid, you moron.”

Related article:
Apple sued over vanishing texts to Android phones – May 17, 2014

64 Comments

  1. ““The case is about Apple’s iMessage not working properly with Android smartphones.”

    iMessage works only between APPLE devices you morons. You can’t use iMessage to send a message to an HTC phone. The messages weren’t “intercepted” by iMessage. The plaintiff’s moron wife SPECIFIED iMessage when she sent them. Apple is not responsible for making its proprietary applications work on competitor’s phones. I hope these two aren’t planning to reproduce. They could set the evolutionary process back by eons.

    1. Actually the messages are intercepted by iMessage. That’s how it works. See my long-winded comment above. The wife didn’t specify to send via iMessage, she just sent a message. Her phone pings Apple’s server and since his number was registered as being iMessage capable, that’s what was being sent even though he was incapable of receiving it.

      While not being lawsuit worthy, it is an issue in the way iMessage works that does end up affected many people. Apple could change things by allowing web access (instead of the actual device) to turn off iMessage (again see my earlier comment). Additionally, Apple could deactivate iMessage on devices that haven’t logged in for a period of time.

      1. Apple’s iMessage is working exactly as designed. It’s the customer’s fault that his phone number is still listed at Apple as being an iPhone. How is Apple supposed to know that he took his SIM card out of one phone and stuck it another phone?

        1. “Apple’s iMessage is working exactly as designed.”

          Yes, and that’s the problem… the design of the system.

          “How is Apple supposed to know that he took his SIM card out of one phone and stuck it another phone?”

          Again, read what I wrote. I mentioned previously how the system works and what Apple needs to do to make this a non-issue. Apple is supposed to know to let go of his number from iMessage by having the user turn off iMessage. The problem is that it’s not always possible (iPhone gets lost, damaged, stops working).

          The fact remains the way the system is designed to work, a user could be stuck having lost messages unless they pay Apple a fee. Imagine this scenario…

          You’re in a plane/train/car crash and your iPhone is destroyed or it just fails on its own. It’s no longer under warranty and you don’t qualify for free support. You decide not to get an iPhone or perhaps you’re in another country where you can’t get another iPhone registered with your number. The only solution to this is to pay for an Apple Support phone call.

          This all could be remedied by Apple offering iMessage off/on capability on iCloud.com.

          Watch… they will do this.

            1. Do you like being able to send messages to people without iPhones or people with iPhones who have iMessage turned off? Where exactly do you think I’m advocating using SMS over iMessage? I use iMessage whenever I can, but that doesn’t negate the fact that Apple should bring iMessage activation services to iCloud.com.

          1. Just reset your Apple ID password. That disconnects all devices until you reconnect each one.

            No need to call Apple, pay for anything, and can be done from any web browser!

        2. Both Zeke and kevicosuave are correct. To solve the general case of this problem, kevicosuave offers a good solution.

          However, in this particular case, the plaintiff failed to take the proper steps prior to switching his mobile phone number. His lawyer is trying to avoid the legal issue that iMessage is optional by stressing that a Best Buy employee set up his iPhone and, later, his Android HTC One. I don’t believe that this ploy will work – ignorance is no excuse. That is beside the fact that Best Buy employees are not Apple employees.

          I don’t have an iPhone and I don’t use iMessage. The service sounded like a reasonable idea when it was first offered because many people had a plan with a finite number of texts and had to pay an exorbitant fee for additional texts (exorbitant considering the amount of data transferred). Via the iPhone, Apple helped to break the stranglehold that the cell companies enforced on “value-added” services like SMS, MMS, etc. Everyone in the U.S. should appreciate Apple’s efforts on their behalf, no matter what brand of “smartphone” they are using.

          As I stated previously, I do not have an iPhone or use iMessage. Given the proliferation of unlimited SMS cell phone plans the cost issue is not important to most people, so it is unclear to me whether or not iMessage still offers advantages to iPhone users. Does it offer improved functionality over standard SMS?

          1. Thanks, yes, I want to make it really clear that this lawsuit is bogus even if I feel Apple should (and probably will) make disabling (and maybe even accessing) iMessages via iCloud possible.

            As far as the advantage to iMessage, yes, encryption is there, yawn… I’m not exactly texting things that NSA would care about, and the NSA can still metadata iMessage.

            Other than encryption, the only real advantage of iMessage is that it ever existed in the first place, as you point out, everyone already benefited from the change in SMS pricing policy. Now, unless everyone you know has an iPhone, you’ll probably still need SMS so you’re not really missing anything.

  2. Apple iMessage have been communicating with Windows & Android phones successfully. Take both phones into Apple Genius Bar at stores & they will make them talk to each other. Problem is with Google.

    1. iMessages are Apple-only. You can only send an iMessage to another Apple device that has been registered and has iMessage turn on.

      You can send an SMS message (using the same app) to anyone capable of receiving an SMS message. This has nothing to do with Google, nor is there anything Google can do about this.

  3. Idiot + Greed = Lawsuit. Somebody must pay because these people are stupid, and the answer is “all of the rest of us”.

    Welcome to what America has become. The terrorists don’t need to work so hard: we are destroying ourselves quite well enough, thank you.

  4. That’s just stupid as hell. They don’t put iMessage on junk phones. Why should they be concerned with other phones? I don’t see people bitching about not having iMessage on their $20 go phone. Android phones are no different than a garbage $20 go phone, as far as anyone is concerned. Why would apple be obligated to put their integrated software functionality on a third party system? That’s like telling Mercedes-Benz they need to carry parts and provide service for Ford Focus and cheap motorcycles.

      1. So if for example, you’re in another country and someone steals your iPhone or you’re in an accident and your iPhone is lost/damaged, then no messages for you!!! That’s nice.

        Again, not lawsuit worthy, but Apple should enable web access to turning off iMessage so that this simply isn’t an issue for anyone.

  5. Did they ask for help from Apple? If they didn’t then the case should be dismissed and they should have to pay lawyer fees. I just can’t understand how anyone would file a lawsuit to solve such a little problem.

    1. Agreed. But I think that the plaintiff’s lawyer is using the reported $19 fee (if you are no longer covered) as his “stick” against Apple.

      Others, such as kevicosuave, have put this in the proper context. Apple should make this process easier and free. It is not in Apple’s best interest to even inadvertently support the argument that Apple “locks” people into its “walled” ecosystem. If you want to leave, there is the gate.

  6. Put Judge Denise Cote on the case.
    She will manufacture a conspiracy in her mind before the trial, ignoring any evidence to the contrary.
    Apple says they will appeal because they think they are innocent. Then because they didn’t act repentant (essentially admitting guilt) she will then fine Apple billions of dollars. Then order billions more compensation to ex iPhone owners, as well as their family, friends and pets. Next she will instruct a clueless friend of hers to oversee the forced removal of iMessages and investigation of anything unrelated to the case (All while charging millions of dollars). All text messages will then need to be routed through Google servers (for them to read and send info to advertisers), because Google needs a bigger monopoly. Finally all contracts with mobile phone service providers will need to be torn up and renegotiated at six month intervals. (Those last in line are screwed, but nothing Denise Cote ever did was very logical). The Fandroids and iHaters will then rejoice, insisting this is a very fair judgement.

    Later on she will give the go ahead for more lawsuits filed by each of the 50 states for yet more fines and compensation. All while the original case ruling made by her is still under appeal. The Fandroids and iHaters will then celebrate further.

    Obviously, I’m drawing parallels with the ebooks case, even though they are not remotely similar.

    Just making fun of judge Denise Cote and the ridiculous litigiousness of the U.S.A. Just glad I don’t live there.

    1. Judges like Cote probably exist in every country. And, while I agree that lawsuits in the U.S. are out of control, that is more due to lawyers “creating” business in hopes of a quick payoff than anything else. Your average Joe in the U.S. does not go around dreaming up and filing lawsuits. I am nearly five decades old, and I have never been involved in a lawsuit, nor has any member of my immediate or extended family or, to the best of my knowledge, any of my friends. In addition, if I receive a Class Action lawsuit notice in the mail (which has happened several times), I opt out. Despite its flaws, America is actually a great place to live. And, as the pendulum swings away from the current era of political extremism and polarization, America will get even better. You don’t mention your country of residence, but I have no doubt that it exhibits some significant social flaws, as well.

      I believe that one of the answers to this problem of excessive litigation is to place more burden on the plaintiff regarding the merits of the lawsuit. If the lawsuit is found to be frivolous, then the plaintiff should be liable for all costs *and* the lawyer that took the case should also be held liable, as well. Perhaps if the lawyers found to be involved in multiple instances of frivolous lawsuits were held accountable – perhaps fined and barred from filing new lawsuits for a period of time – they would be a little more choosy and less willing to pimp themselves for money.

  7. As an alternative to all of this, a person in this situation (former iPhone user, no access to former iPhone, iMessage not deactivated, messages not being received from iPhone users) needs only to call Apple at (800)APL-CARE and ask for an Accounts Security advisor. These kind folks have a tool for de-activating iMessage for a specific phone number regardless of the current status/location/existence of the iPhone itself. These cases are *always* granted an exception whether or not the device is still covered by warranty, and a fee is *never* charged for Accounts Security calls (in which this situation is most definitely included). So the $19 fee doesn’t apply here, and anyone who’s told otherwise need only to ask for a supervisor to verify this fact. This isn’t speculation on my part; let’s just say I know these things to be true.

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