Apple beats class action lawsuit over Meltdown and Specter security flaws

By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Wednesday dismissed a proposed class action lawsuit accusing Apple Inc of defrauding customers by selling iPhones and iPads whose processors were found to be vulnerable to two cybersecurity flaws first revealed in 2018 .

U.S. District Judge Edward Davila in San Jose, Calif., said customers failed to prove they overpaid for their devices because Apple knowingly covered up flaws and provided security patches that rendered its considerably slower devices.

The lawsuit was filed after Apple and other companies, including Alphabet Inc’s Google, disclosed the Meltdown and Specter flaws, which could allow hackers to access computing devices and steal the contents of their memory, in January 2018.

Apple customers claimed the Cupertino, Calif.-based company learned of the flaws in June 2017, but said nothing until The New York Times reported the flaws.

Davila, however, said customers failed to show they relied on Apple’s marketing and the company’s claims that its products were “secure” and built “with your privacy at the core.” ‘spirit’ were too general to support their claims.

The judge also said it was not wrong or misleading for Apple to claim that its new processors were faster and lasted longer than older processors simply because the patches may have degraded performance.

“Plaintiffs have not alleged affirmative misrepresentation, actionable omission, and actual reliance” on Apple’s misrepresentations, Davila wrote.

Lawyers for the plaintiff clients did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Davila said they could try to press their claims by June 30.

Meltdown only affected chips from Intel Corp, while Specter affected nearly every chip made in the previous decade.

In seeking a dismissal, Apple said similar lawsuits have already been dismissed against other manufacturers, including Intel and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

The case is In re Apple Processor Litigation, US District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-00147.

(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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