Christina Grace of California filed a lawsuit against Apple that alleges Apple broke FaceTime on iOS 6 to force the users to make an upgrade to iOS 7. According to the lawsuit, Apple forced the users to upgrade to iOS 7 so that it doesn’t have to pay Akamai.
There was a data deal with Akamai and Apple would pay them if FaceTime is used on iOS 6. Apple broke or intentionally turned off the app on those who ran it on iOS 6 or the earlier versions. Thus, it affected the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S owners. Their phones started becoming slow and faced crashes numerous times.
How did FaceTime work?
Apple introduced the FaceTime app in 2010and it used two methods for video calls. The first was Peer to peer technology. It directly connected one device with another in a call. The second method is “relay mode” in which both the caller and recipient can stay connected to a relay server on the internet. The data for calls flows through servers of both the devices. In between 2010 to 2012, 95% of the FaceTime traffic relied on the peer to peer network connectivity.
But in 2012, a jury said that Apple is violating the patents held by the security company VirnetX in the peer to peer calls. The company took the decision of turning off this app to save money on charges related to the calls made with FaceTime. Thus, Apple needed to switch all the traffic to relay method to avoid infringement of VirnetX’s patents.
The Lawsuit against Apple about iOS 7 update
The lawsuit says, [quotes quotes_style=”bquotes” quotes_pos=”center”]Upon shifting 100% of FaceTime call volume to the relay method, Apple’s relay usage soared. As a result, Apple began to incur multi-million dollar monthly charges for its use of Akamai’s servers. [/quotes]For the relay servers, Akamai was operating. And this is why Apple tried to find a way for the problem. In iOS 7, Apple was able to revert the FaceTime calls to peer to peer method by using technology on which VirnetX didn’t have a patent. Thus, FaceTime users would not use the relay servers, and they can save money every month.
The lawsuit also claims, “Internal Apple emails eliminate any doubt that Apple intentionally broke FaceTime, and did so to reduce relay usage and the high costs related to it”. Apple deliberately placed a bug that prevented iOS 6 users from using FaceTime. Once they shifted to iOS 7, they could use the FaceTime app again. An Apple engineer allegedly wrote, “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.”
Apple didn’t comment on this issue, and they are yet to respond to a Fortune request on the lawsuit. The company reported a problem on their support page that claims that FaceTime app was going through troubles. Apple didn’t confirm that the bug was created by the corporation itself. The class is suing Apple for unspecified damage and claims that the company violated California’s competition law.