Apple faces another lawsuit over its FaceTime service after a woman in California sued the firm for allegedly "intentionally" breaking the service in iOS 6 to avoid high monthly data relay charges from Akamai.
The class-action lawsuit stems from internal emails released during Apple's high-profile patent fight with patent troll VirtneX.
When Apple's FaceTime technology was found to infringe on VirnetX's patents in 2012, Apple began to use Akamai's servers to handle iPhone-to-iPhone connections. A year later, Apple was paying $50m in fees to Akamai, according to testimony from the VirnetX trial.
These growing costs were beginning to bother Apple execs, according to this newly-filed lawsuit, which claims that Apple broke FaceTime in iOS 6 on purpose in order to get users to upgrade to iOS 7. This update changed the way that FaceTime worked, reducing the load on Akamai's servers and in turn saving keeping Apple's piles of cash nice and fat.
When FaceTime stopped working for those clinging onto iOS 6, Apple's only advice was to update their software. The firm said at the time: "If you started to have issues making or receiving FaceTime calls after April 16, 2014, your device or your friend's device may have encountered a bug resulting from a device certificate that expired on that date. Updating both devices to the latest software will resolve this issue."
As reported at Apple Insider, the class action lawsuit 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 reportedly responded by pointing out that iOS 6 relied a lot on Akamai's services and that the company "broke iOS 6" and the only way to fix FaceTime was to upgrade to iOS 7.
However, it's worth noting that at the time these emails were allegedly sent, only 11 per cent of iPhone users were still running iOS 6.
The lawsuit also 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.
Apple has yet to comment.
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