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Apple customers win class-action lawsuit over faulty keyboards

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Customers claimed that MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro keyboards suffered from sticky and unresponsive keys. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Customers claimed that MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro keyboards suffered from sticky and unresponsive keys. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Customers claimed that MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro keyboards suffered from sticky and unresponsive keys. Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Apple agreed to pay $50m (€48.8m) to settle a class-action lawsuit by customers who claimed it knew and concealed that the “butterfly” keyboards on its MacBook laptop computers were prone to failure.

The proposed preliminary settlement was filed late on  Monday night in the federal court in San Jose, California, and requires a judge’s approval.

Customers claimed that MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro keyboards suffered from sticky and unresponsive keys, and that tiny amounts of dust or debris could make it difficult to type.

Lawyers for the customers expect maximum payouts of $395 to people who replaced multiple keyboards, $125 to people who replaced one keyboard, and $50 to people who replaced key caps.

Customers also remain eligible for four years of free keyboard repairs following their purchases.

The customers’ law firms, Girard Sharp  and Chimicles Schwartz Kriner & Donaldson-Smith, may seek up to $15m for legal fees, which would be deducted from the $50m settlement fund, court papers show.

Meanwhile, Google faces a London trial over an estimated £920m (€1.1bn) damages claim after a court authorised a lawsuit that alleges the Alphabet-owned tech giant overcharged 19.5 million customers for app store purchases.

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The class action, which was certified by the Competition Appeal Tribunal on Monday, alleges Google abused its dominant position by charging up to 30pc commission on popular apps on its Play Store, including Roblox, Candy Crush Saga and Tinder since October 2015.

A detailed judgment has yet to be published, a spokesperson for the claimant group said on Tuesday.

Google did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Regulators, rivals and consumer champions are trying to curb Big Tech, filing lawsuits across the globe against the likes of Google and rival Apple over alleged anti-competitive behaviour. The European Union alone has fined Google more than €8bn in recent years over anti-trust practices.

The latest British case against Google, which is not expected to come to trial before 2024, is brought by Liz Coll, a former digital policy manager at the non-profit Citizens Advice service. She is being advised by law firm Hausfeld.

Ms Coll alleges in the lawsuit that the Play Store commission is unlawful and unjustifiable, breaching European and British competition laws, and that Google is abusing its dominant position at the expense of British Android smartphone and tablet users.

Google generated $11.2bn in revenue from its mobile app store in 2019, a court filing unsealed last year showed.


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