Yahoo Inc was ordered by a Chicago federal judge to face a class action lawsuit accusing the Internet giant of sending unsolicited text messages to Sprint Corp cellphone users in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.
U.S. District Judge Manish Shah said the users could sue as a group over messages sent in March 2013 because their claims had enough in common.
Shah rejected Yahoo’s arguments that a class action could subject it to damages that were disproportionate to the alleged harm, promote “piecemeal” litigation covering other time periods and phone carriers, and thwart Congress’ desire that claims be brought individually in small claims court.
More than 500,000 cellphone users could be part of the class, court papers show.
The plaintiffs accused Yahoo of sending them automated “welcome” messages when other users sent them separate messages via the Yahoo Messenger service.
They said the welcome messages constituted unauthorized advertising for Yahoo services, violating the federal TCPA and subjecting the Sunnyvale, California-based company to damages of up to $1,500 per message if the violations were willful.
The case was brought by Rachel Johnson, an Illinois resident who claimed to receive a welcome message from Yahoo after being sent a spam text message from another user advertising a means to reduce high-cost debt.
Shah declined to certify a separate class of T-Mobile US Inc cellphone users for welcome messages sent in April 2014. He said the proposed plaintiff in that part of the case had consented to receiving welcome messages.
Yahoo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Tyler McGee, VP of telecommunications at Samsung Australia, said that Apple had made Samsung’s tablet computer “a household name”, which the firm believes is more than it could have managed with its marketing alone, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
This ironic twist of fate means that instead of slowing Samsung down and keeping its products off the market, Apple has inadvertently created a lot of buzz for those devices, which is now paying off with high demand as the Galaxy Tab returns to shop shelves in Australia.
Samsung has shipped a significant volume of tablets to Australia in time for the 16 December launch, perfect timing for the busy Christmas shopping period. However, McGee warned that demand is higher than supply, suggesting that there will be shortages of the device.
Apple initially secured a preliminary injunction that banned the sale of the 10.1in version of the Galaxy Tab in Australia, but this ban was lifted last week. Further patent lawsuits are pending in other countries around the world.
Samsung will sell its Galaxy Tab 16GB models for between A$579 and A$729, depending on whether the user wants WiFi or WiFi and 3G. Apple sells its 16GB Ipad 2 in Australia for a similar A$579, making Samsung’s tablet a direct competitor in terms of price. Generally speaking Android users tend to be more reluctant to fork over lots of cash for their devices compared to Apple users, but the hype surrounding the Galaxy Tab could play to its favour.
Samsung is also planning to release a 7.7in Galaxy Tab by the end of the year, and an 8.9in tablet within the first three months of 2012.
Samsung will launch a high definition Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) tablet next year.
In a bid to trump its major rival Apple, Samsung will launch an 11.6in tablet that will be unveiled at next year’s Mobile World Congress in February. If you believe BGR’s ‘trusted source’, the device will have 2560×1600 resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio.
Crunch the numbers and you get a mouth watering pixel density of 260ppi, almost double the 132ppi of the Apple Ipad 2. Unsurprisingly the tablet will run Android 4.0 ICS but won’t be much bigger than the Galaxy Tab 10.1in due to a thinner bezel.
To outdo the fruit themed firm further, the Samsung HD tablet will use the firm’s own Exynos 5250 2GHz dual-core processor based on the ARM Cortex A15 design. However, Apple’s upcoming A6 chip apparently will be similar to this.
Like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone the tablet will use near field communication (NFC) technology and the Android Beam feature for wireless content transfer. It will also have some kind of wireless docking mode for tasks such as gaming on TVs, which sounds similar to digital living network alliance (DLNA) technology.
How much of this is true we don’t know, but it certainly sounds interesting. The tablet rivalry between Samsung and Apple looks set to continue into 2012. We’re certainly intrigued as to what Samsung will come up with in this tablet to avoid further legal challenges from Apple.
The company has not yet decided on the launch date for the modified tablet, Samsung spokesman Jose Suh said Thursday, but the new device, the Galaxy Tab 10.1N, has already appeared for sale on the websites of German retailers. Webs-shop has a 16GB model in white, while EP MediaStore has a 32GB Wi-Fi model in black, and IM Superstore the 64GB Wi-Fi model.
The new versions of the tablet will only go on sale in Germany, said Samsung spokesman Nam Ki Yung. The new version moves the speakers from the side of the device to the front, and modifies the design of the bezel so that silver is visible, he said.
Yung emphasized that the design was made in response to the German legal authorities, and not to Apple’s claims of patent infringement.
In September, the district court in Dusseldorf ruled that Samsung must not sell the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Germany because of its similar appearance to Apple’s iPad 2, the design of which is registered with the E.U.’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market. The Korean electronics giant has appealed the decision.
Samsung is involved in legal battles with Apple in Europe, Asia and North America over patents related to their phones and tablets.
The alleged operation of Phillip A. Flora offered loan modification assistance, debt relief and other services, the FTC said in a news release. During one 40-day period, beginning in August 2009, Flora’s operation sent more than 5.5 million spam texts, a “mind boggling” rate of about 85 a minute, the FTC said in court documents.
One website the operation directed customers to claimed to offer “official” home loan modification services and displayed a photo of the U.S. flag, the FTC said.
Many consumers targeted by Flora had to pay fees to their mobile carriers for the unwanted text messages, the FTC said.
Flora collects information from consumers who respond to the text messages, even those asking him to stop sending messages, the FTC alleged. He sells their contact information to marketers as customers interested in debt settlement, the FTC said.
Several consumers targeted called the texts harassing, the FTC said in court documents.
“Many recipients’ wireless handsets audibly notify the recipient when a text message is received,” the FTC’s complaint said. “Many recipients of Defendant Flora’s text message spam received that spam in the late-night or early-morning hours or while at work or school.”
The FTC, in court documents made public Wednesday, has asked the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to freeze the spam operation’s assets.
The FTC’s complaint charged Flora with violating the FTC Act by sending unsolicited commercial text messages to consumers, and by misrepresenting that he was affiliated with a government agency. The agency also alleged that he advertised his text message services by sending consumers e-mail spam that violated the CAN-SPAM Act, a law that sets rules for sending commercial e-mail.
The FTC alleged that his e-mail spam failed to include a way for consumers to opt out of future messages and failed to include the physical mailing address of the sender, as required by the spam law.