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Apple and AT&T Face Class Action Over iPhone Locking

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Photo by Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr

Photo by Yutaka Tsutano on Flickr

A couple weeks ago, we talked about the possible class action suit against Apple for antenna and reception issues with the iPhone 4; now we learn a federal judge has given the OK to proceed for a class action suit based on a monopoly claim against Apple and AT&T.

Judge James Ware of the US District Court for the Northern District of California has consolidated several claims filed by iPhone users dating back in 2007, only months after the first generation iPhone was released. Buyers were not pleased with the fact that Apple “locked” the phones to be used only on AT&T’s network to the exclusion of all other mobile phone companies. Another part of the original complaints was the lack of user control over which iPhone applications they could install, which Judge Ware also allowed to go forward.

Regarding AT&T, the lawsuit claims that Apple and AT&T teamed up as partners on a five-year deal, locking iPhone users into five-year contracts as well when they bought an iPhone—even for those people who signed up for two year deals with the mobile giant. This created a monopoly, according to the suit, as it stifled competition and hiked up prices. Apple denies this claim, but neither Apple nor AT&T has commented on their agreement.

The crux of this lawsuit, then, is the “locked” nature of iPhones, and the class includes buyers who purchased an iPhone with a two-year deal with AT&T from 2007 on. The class seeks an injunction stopping Apple from selling locked phones in America and from controlling which applications users may download and use.

Judge Ware did dismiss, however, claims against Apple that alleged software updates damaged and/or deleted programs by some iPhone users.

What do you think about this latest Apple lawsuit? How do you feel about Apple and AT&T’s being interlocked, so to speak?

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July 12th, 2010 at 10:09 am

Posted in Class Actions,Legal News

Tagged with , , ,