Apple Inc. (AAPL) has failed to thwart a lawsuit alleging the tech titan disabled its FaceTime video messaging app on older iPhones in an attempt to force users to upgrade devices, Reuters reports.
U.S. District Judge for Northern California Lucy Koh ruled last week that iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S users could pursue legal action for claims that Apple intentionally "broke" FaceTime to save money from routing calls through servers owned by Akamai Technologies Inc (AKAM) .
Koh added that plaintiffs alleged some measurable loss to their phones' value and could try to prove that Apple's actions violated consumer protection laws.
She also dismissed Apple's argument that the plaintiffs underwent no economic loss because FaceTime was a "free" service.
"FaceTime is a 'feature' of the iPhone and thus a component of the iPhone's cost," Koh said in a footnote. "Indeed, Apple advertised FaceTime as 'one more thing that makes an iPhone an iPhone.'"
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