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2020-04-29

Apple is going to pay $18 million to settle broken FaceTime suit

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Apple has agreed to pay $18 million to settle a case that accuses the firm of deliberately breaking FaceTime on iOS 6. The class action lawsuit, filed in 2017, contended that the tech giant disabled the iPhone 4 and 4S video calling application as a cost-saving measure.

See, for FaceTime calls, Apple uses peer-to-peer direct connection, as well as another method that relies on third party servers. However, the tech giant had to rely more on third party servers because of a patent dispute involving the peer-to-peer method with VirnetX, costing it millions of dollars. Apple eventually released a new peer-to-peer tech with iOS 7, and the complainants claimed the company broke the app in order to force users to upgrade their platforms on the basis of evidence submitted in the VirnetX case.

An Apple engineering manager said, in an email chain, according to AppleInsider

"Hey, guys. I'm looking at next year's Akamai contract. I understand we did something about iOS 6 in April to reduce relay usage. It's been a big user of relay bandwidth. We broke iOS 6, and the only way to get FaceTime back to work is to upgrade to iOS 7."

While Apple is paying $18 million to settle, none of the plaintiffs are receiving massive payouts - or a lot of payouts. Each member of the class action only gets $3 per device affected, and that amount will only increase if some of them choose not to claim their checks.

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