U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh ruled late on Friday that iPhone 4 and 4S users can pursue nationwide class action claims that Apple intentionally "broke" FaceTime to save money from routing calls through servers owned by Akamai Technologies, reports Reuters.
Citing internal emails and sworn testimony from a 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 complaint goes on to cite an email chain from Apple engineers as evidence that rising Akamai fees spurred the company's actions. Last year Apple ditched Akamai (which the company had used for 15 years for its content delivery system) for its own servers.
The class-action suit seeks to find Apple violated California's unfair competition law and is liable for trespass to chattels, a tort in which one party intentionally interferes with another person's possessions.
According to Reuters, Koh said the plaintiffs alleged some measurable loss to their phones' value, and could try to show that Apple's conduct constituted a trespass and violated state consumer protection laws. The San Jose, California-based judge twice quoted from what the plaintiffs said was an Apple employee's internal email characterizing iOS 6 users as "basically screwed" because of the disabling of FaceTime.