Class-Action Lawsuit Alleges Apple Intentionally Forced Users to Upgrade to iOS 7

A class-action lawsuit was filed on California on Thursday, claiming that Apple forced iPhone users to upgrade to iOS 7, by breaking one of the most used apps on such smartphones, FaceTime.

The new class action suit stems from a different lawsuit targeting the iPhone maker, Apple Insider writes. Apple lost a patent infringement case against VirnetX, and a judge ruled last year that Apple had to pay $302.4 million in damages.

Citing documents disclosed in the VirnetX patent lawsuit, the class-action filing alleges that Apple secretly took this step in order to reduce high monthly data relay charges it was incurring from Akamai as a result of the “relay method” being used at the time to handle some FaceTime calls between iOS devices, which transmitted FaceTime data through Akamai’s servers — a relay service which Apple was paying for based on usage.

Soon after that, Apple started to pay more and more money for Akamai’s service, with fees amounting to $50 million between April 2013 and September 2013. This new lawsuit now alleges that Apple devised a new peer-to-peer technology to handle FaceTime calls and included it in iOS 7. The technology did not infringe on VirnetX patents, and would not require Akamai to relay the calls.

But Apple found an unexpected problem: some iOS device users were not upgrading to iOS 7. The lawsuit says that Apple decided to break FaceTime on iOS 6 intentionally and then force users to upgrade to iOS 7. The move may have hurt iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S owners, as their aging devices would have a harder time running iOS 7.

“For iPhone 4 and iPhone 4s users, for example, the coerced move to iOS 7 subjected their devices to slowness, system crashes, erratic behavior and/or the elimination of their ability to use critical functions on their phone. As succinctly stated in one of the media reports that discussed these widespread functionality problems ‘the older handsets buckle under the weight of the new software’. Thus, for millions of Apple’s customers, a move to iOS 7 would significantly harm the functionality of their device,” the lawsuit reads.

The report says that the lawsuit alleges Apple to have violated the California unfair competition law and is responsible for “interfering in another’s possessions.”