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Apple turns off push e-mail for iCloud, MobileMe in Germany

Company has been forced to turn the feature off after it lost a court battle with Motorola earlier this month.

Push e-mail for Apple's iCloud service has been halted in Germany.
Push e-mail for Apple's iCloud service has been halted in Germany. Apple

Apple has turned off push e-mail service in iCloud and MobileMe.

The company announced the move yesterday, saying that it only affects German customers who own iOS-based devices. The company offered a workaround for accessing e-mail on those services, which includes people changing their MobileMe and iCloud settings to "Fetch."

"Affected customers will still receive iCloud and MobileMe email, but new messages will be downloaded to their devices when the Mail app is opened, or when their device periodically fetches new messages as configured in iOS Settings," Apple wrote to customers yesterday. "Push email service on desktop computers, laptop computers, and the Web is unaffected, as is service from other providers such as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync."

Apple reiterated that statement in an e-mail to CNET today.

A German court earlier this month granted Motorola Mobility a permanent ban on Apple's push e-mail services. Apple said yesterday that it believes Motorola's patent on push services is "invalid and is appealing the decision."

A similar scenario has played out between the companies for months now. When one side wins a temporary or permanent injunction, the other appeals the decision to a higher court, and in most cases, gets it overturned. So far, neither side has secured a decisive victory on anything, making it seem like they're spinning their wheels.

That said, last week, Apple won a key court battle against Motorola in Germany, with a judge there saying that several Motorola mobile products violate the iPhone maker's slide-to-unlock patent. The court gave Apple the opportunity to institute a permanent ban on allegedly infringing devices, but the company would need to put up a bond to secure any losses Motorola could incur in the event the ruling is overturned by a higher court.

Already, Motorola has come up with a workaround that it says, will safeguard its products from any ban.

There's no telling when Apple might be able to bring push e-mail back to MobileMe and iCloud. However, the company did point out that push service is still available to iCloud's Contacts and Calendars applications.

Updated at 8 a.m. PT with Apple's response.