Did Apple intentionally break FaceTime on iOS 6 to force people to use iOS 7?

class action lawsuit against Apple for artificially breaking FaceTime
class action lawsuit against Apple for artificially breaking FaceTime

This is what the latest class-action lawsuit says. According to the lawsuit, Apple forced users to upgrade to iOS 7 by breaking FaceTime in iOS 6. FaceTime is a video chatting app used mostly by people using Apple products (since it is not available in other platforms).

The secret was discovered from internal Apple documents that were brought to light during the VirnetX patents infringement lawsuit in which Apple lost $302.5 million in damages. The California class-action lawsuit claims that Apple intentionally created problems in FaceTime on the devices running iOS 6 and earlier to avoid monthly data relay charges from Akamai (source).

The class action lawsuit has been filed by Christina Grace of California.

In order to facilitate video calls, Apple was using 2 technologies: a peer-to-peer method that created a direct connection between 2 iPhones or 2 iPads, and a relay method that used the data servers from a company called Akamai.

When Apple used peer-to-peer method for FaceTime it infringed on VirnetX’s patent for the same technology and consequently had to face a lawsuit. After the lawsuit it started focusing on the Akamai servers to make connections for FaceTime. According to the revealed documents, Apple was paying Akamai $50 million every year to keep the service running.

Later on Apple developed its own peer-to-peer technology but the problem was the technology only worked on iOS 7 and above. For people who hadn’t yet upgraded to iOS 7 Apple still had to rely on Akamai. So, according to the class-action suit, Apple created an artificial bug that caused a digital certificate to prematurely expire on Apple 16, 2014, rendering the app useless on iOS 6. If users upgraded to iOS 7 Apple would save a ton of money.

Apple acknowledged the bug and in the support document advised its users to upgrade to iOS 7 in order to get rid of the bug.

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About Amrit Hallan

Amrit Hallan is the founder of TechBakBak.com. He writes about technology not because “he loves to write about technology”, he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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