Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Lawsuit Claims Apple Forced Users to Upgrade to iOS 7 by Breaking FaceTime

Mikey Campbell, AppleInsider:

Seemingly spawned from internal Apple documents disclosed during the VirnetX patent infringement lawsuit, which found Apple on the hook for $302.4 million in damages, the California action claims Apple intentionally broke FaceTime for devices running iOS 6 and earlier to avoid high monthly data relay charges from Akamai.

[…]

Citing internal emails and sworn testimony from the VirnetX trial, the lawsuit alleges Apple devised a plan to “break” FaceTime on iOS 6 or earlier by causing a vital digital certificate to prematurely expire. Apple supposedly implemented the “FaceTime Break” on April 16, 2014, then blamed the sudden incompatibility on a bug, the lawsuit claims.

The optics of this are bad, but this will likely be — amongst other things — a test of a typical software EULA. For instance, here’s section 7.41 from the one that came with iOS 6 (PDF), with emphasis:

Apple does not warrant against interference with your enjoyment of the iOS software and services, that the functions contained in, or services performed or provided by, the iOS software will meet your requirements, that the operation of the iOS software and services will be uninterrupted or error-free, that any service will continue to be made available, that defects in the iOS software or services will be corrected, or that the iOS software will be compatible or work with any third party software, applications or third party services. Installation of this software may affect the usability of third party software, applications or third party services.

Since the iOS 7 was provided free to users — and, in the course of that update, making iOS 6 officially outdated — does that mean that the above section can hold and Apple has no obligation to maintain the functionality of their older software? Furthermore, if Apple didn’t fully disclose why FaceTime stopped working on older devices, is that problematic from a legal perspective?

I guess the biggest question of all is whether the discontinuation of a single nonessential feature is tantamount to requiring users to upgrade to the newest version of the software. I doubt it.


  1. The section that follows this is the infamous one that advises you not to use Apple software to operate a nuclear facility. ↩︎