Apple’s iMessage workaround arrives too late to avoid a lawsuit

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Apple finally offered an easy solution this week to people who wanted a way out of iMessage purgatory after switching from iPhone to Android. But that workaround won’t help the company in an ongoing legal dispute: U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh decided Monday that Apple must respond to a class-action suit about the iMessage foul-up in a California court.

Adrienne Moore, a former iPhone 4 owner who then switched to a Samsung Galaxy S5, claims that Apple interfered with her Verizon Wireless contract by failing to let her know that texts sent as iMessages from her contacts using iPhones wouldn’t be delivered to her new Android device. Koh is allowing the suit to proceed so Moore can try to prove that Apple violated a California law against unfair competition by holding the messages hostage.

Before Apple released its new do-it-yourself tool for deregistering your phone number from iMessages, the company required you to do a SIM switcheroo to deactivate iMessages in your old iPhone, or call Apple support if you no longer had the device in your possession. Turning off iMessage support in an iPhone is beyond easy, but something many people don’t think about before switching to a new phone.

Moore is seeking $5 million in damages and class-action status, so other former iPhone users burned by missing iMessages could benefit if she wins. Disappearing iMessages have been an issue since Apple debuted the messaging feature in 2011, but the company is fighting claims that it should have done more to help people who are giving up on their iPhones.

"Apple takes customer satisfaction extremely seriously, but the law does not provide a remedy when, as here, technology simply does not function as plaintiff subjectively believes it should," the company said in a court document, according to Reuters.

Judge Koh also presided over Apple’s recent patent infringement battle with Samsung.

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