This landmark litigation against Apple reminds us of a semi-successful film by the name of Cellular (2004). The American crime thriller involves a kidnap victim (Kim Basinger) piecing together a broken telephone, entering numbers at random and reaching an unsuspecting gentleman (Chris Evans) who by some odd mobile number lottery becomes a key player in the kidnapped woman’s release. This may be a far-fetched scenario and not every call (or text) is a life or death situation but this case against Apple for un-received text messages between an iPhone and a Samsung handset makes the point that poor service delivery is a serious issue for this California resident.
Having made the switch from iPhone to Android, Adrienne Moore has filed a class action against Apple for unsent text messages. Post-switch, Moore’s mobile number is still linked to an iPhone in Apple’s data base and the iMessage platform, designed for and activated on an iPhone, doesn’t break the association with the number even after the user has started using another device. As a result of this, Moore’s new messages were not received by her Samsung Galaxy or sent to other iPhone users but retained by Apple – something she claims is a ‘penalty’ for changing devices and something not disclosed by Apple at the time the iMessage system is activated. The nature of the missed messages has not been released but it’s clear that Moore (and others) find this situation absolutely unacceptable, regardless of the technical explanations given.
Naturally, Moore still has to pay her full contract fee to her service provider but she does not receive text messages and is stuck in what another user involved in a similar case has called ‘iMessage purgatory’. Moore seeks $5m in damages for the inconvenience of the unsent messages, the inability to obtain full benefits from her mobile package and for the fact that Apple do not disclose that switching causes such severe interference with their service, creating unfair competition in the mobile market. She also claims that many would never activate the service or buy Apple devices at all had they known how inflexible the system is.
Apple, as well as Moore’s mobile service provider have suggested ‘fixes’ but these have failed and the case is pending. Apple has not commented on the lawsuit.