Apple fails to end lawsuit claiming they intentionally ‘broke’ FaceTime on older iPhones to force upgrades

“Apple Inc. has failed in its bid to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it disabled the popular FaceTime video conferencing feature on older iPhones to force users to upgrade,” Jonathan Stempel reports for Reuters.

“U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled late on Friday that iPhone 4 and 4S users can pursue nationwide class action claims that Apple intentionally ‘broke’ FaceTime to save money from routing calls through servers owned by Akamai Technologies Inc.,” Stempel reports. “Koh said the plaintiffs alleged some measurable loss to their phones’ value, and could try to show that Cupertino, California-based Apple’s conduct constituted a trespass and violated state consumer protection laws”

Stempel reports”She also rejected Apple’s argument that the plaintiffs suffered no economic loss because FaceTime was a ‘free’ service.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The current value of a 64GB iPhone 4S in excellent condition is US$20. The iPhone 4 isn’t even listed at resale sites anymore, so assume it has a value of less than $20.

If Apple loses this case, expect a class action settlement that mostly benefits the lawyers, as usual.

6 Comments

    1. Whatever. Stick to the topic instead of going off on immature little MDN witch hunts.

      Apple DOES break stuff, abandon great software without warning, and let formerly class leading hardware die on the vine. Many time my Apple gear has been bricked by Apple’s poor customer treatment. This includes data loss from their shitty services.

      Maybe the judge actually made the right call.

    2. While all that may well be true, MacObserver, I fail to see how obsolescence is legally actionable. I can’t read any of my MacWrite files from 1984, but I don’t think I can sue Apple over it. Backwards compatibility is obviously desirable, but it can also prevent any serious move forward. There comes a point when a device or application is simply too old to justify special accommodation by Apple to keep it running.

  1. I do not recall the particulars of this case. When were the last new iPhone 4 and 4s units sold by Apple at retail? When did Apple disable the FaceTime video conferencing though the Akamai servers?

    The reason that I am asking is because people received value for their iPhones for a period of time before that one function was disabled. The iPhone had a value before and after that event took place. The delta value is the harm, plus any punitive damages that might be assessed for willful manipulation.

    FaceTime was a feature that Apple advertised as a cool function of the iPhone. So I can understand the gripe, to some degree. But MDN is right – the lawyers will get millions, and the iPhone class action representatives may be five or ten thousand each, and the rest of the class action participants will be fortunate to get ten or twenty dollars each.

    Class action lawsuits have their place. But most of them are initiated by lawyers for greed.

  2. FaceTime is not a utility. I don’t recall it being sold on some older models, but they got it through a feature update. Apple used to charge for FaceTime, but then they gave it away for free.

    The phone still works, the camera, the “utility” of calling over 3G, etc. Go figure.

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