Apple iMessage Lawsuit Cannot Proceed As Class Action

A lawsuit by disgruntled former iMessage users cannot proceed as a class action on the basis that it would be difficult to determine that all members of the suit had suffered inconvenience due to text not being delivered to an Android phone.

The suit argued Apple had not made it clear enough that switching from iOS to an alternative platform such as Android would make it difficult to receive future messages from iPhone owners because their phone number was still associated with the iMessage service.

Lead plaintiff Adrienne Moore said she was being “penalised” for switching from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy S5 and was therefore unable to receive the full benefits of her phone contract.

iMessage issues

iMessage works by rerouting text messages over its own servers rather than an operator’s network, bypassing SMS costs and providing additional features such as the ability to see when a recipient is typing or reading a message.

However this relies on Apple having up to date records on which phone numbers are using iPhones, meaning that if a user switches to a different operating system, they might not be able to receive their messages if Apple still lists their number as one associated with iMessage.

But Judge Lucy Koh said that even if the lawsuit was able to prove structural errors with iMessage, determining whether all members had suffered interference would be far more difficult.

Apple has acknowledged issues with iMessage and last year released a tool that allowed users to de-list their number. Prior to this, it said the problems were caused by a “server issue” and users should switch off iMessage before they dispense with their iPhone – hardly an ideal solution if the smartphone is no longer in their possession.

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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