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  • What Does Class Action Suit Against Apple, AT&T Mean for iPhone Owners?



    If you've never been involved in a lawsuit, that's about to change - sort of, at least for those who have ever purchased an iPhone through AT&T, the Apple smartphone exclusive carrier in the United States. A lawsuit filed in 2007 (drum-roll please) has now been granted "class action status." In other words, this legal battle now involves anyone who has ever purchased an iPhone in the US since the device's 2007 release.

    The nature of the lawsuit is rooted in AT&T's exclusive agreement to carry the iPhone. The litigation contends that both companies (AT&T and Apple) formed a secret "monopoly" depriving millions of fair and competitive practices in the marketplace through lengthy contracts and refusals to unlock phones. Due to that apparently compelling argument, Judge James Ware of the U.S. District Court in Norther California is certifying the suit's class-action status. Yes, we're all in this boat together.

    "The court has allowed (multiple) plaintiffs to represent 20 million customers who have been forced to use AT&T for iPhone voice and data service despite an agreement that allows them to terminate at any time and presumably switch carriers" Wired quotes Mark Rifkin, attorney for the plaintiffs.
    I guess we can just call him "our attorney" from now on.

    So if the suit is successful does this mean we all get a boatload of cash or at least a free bumper to mitigate the death grip on our new iPhone 4? Not so fast. Proving that Apple and AT&T formed a monopoly by attaching exclusive components to a product's release could be a monumentally difficult thing to do, say some legal experts, given the increasing nature of exclusive partnerships and offerings in the mobile space. Plenty of analysts also believe that this suit could drag on for so long that the iPhone will be available on other carriers before an outcome has even been reached.

    For now, neither Apple or AT&T is publicly commenting on the new class-action status of the lawsuit.

    Wired
    This article was originally published in forum thread: What Does Class Action Suit Against Apple, AT&T Mean for iPhone Owners? started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 137 Comments
    1. iPhone3G[S]'s Avatar
      iPhone3G[S] -
      Quote Originally Posted by GmAz View Post
      Lets see, iPHone is only available on AT&T, check. Hackers had to constantly stay one step ahead of apple to keep phones unlocked so they could be used on T-Mobile, check. After the 2G, you could no longer buy the iPhone without signing a 2 year contract with AT&T, check. I don't know about you, but those three examples are enough for me let alone many other reasons.
      You should probably check your "facts".
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Christ people, it took 3 years just for this to reach "class action status". Do u really think ANYTHING will get resolved before Apple makes the decision themselves to release the iPhone to all carriers?
    1. area51crypto's Avatar
      area51crypto -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gyngabread Man View Post
      ^^^^ this one along with too many other post fail to see what this lawsuit is all about... not all lawsuits are about getting money this one is about being able to unlock our iphone when we are done with our contract. i have been out of contract since 09 and they still wont unlock my original iphone even though i have been out of contract. if i call asking to unlock any of my other phones thy will be more than happy to help att's policy is you can call and get your phone unlocked if you have are at least 90days into your contract and are in good standing billing wise. this applies to all but the iphone and there is a law that requires carriers to unlock your device after your contract is up to make it easier to change service providers if you wish. this is very similar to what it was like when they wouldnt allow you to port your number over. i dont remember ppl getting any money out if but we did get was the option to keep our number so we wouldnt have to go thru the hassle of giving every1 we knew our new number because we switched service provider.


      ps give me the jailbreak ppl... WHERE DID THIS ARTICLE MENTION ANYTHING ABOUT THE NEW JAILBREAK??? are you guys that stupid your mind is now injecting things you want to see or read about into the written language?
      Well if you believe the reason the lawyers jumped on this is for the iphone owner I feel sorry for you as they are only wanting this to last for a LONG time and like I said they will make the money and NO you still want be able to get AT&T to unlock your Iphone!

      The reason you can keep you phone number is because the FCC got a rule passed not because of a law suit!
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      Oh also.....if you people think you'll be getting a boatload of cash out of this....think again. In order to even see $50 out of this suit Apple and At&T would have to be fined $1billion.
    1. trek-life's Avatar
      trek-life -
      I hope this leads to another 30 years of iPhone AT&T exclusivity just to piss these whiney little punks off
    1. evileclipse's Avatar
      evileclipse -
      "despite an agreement that allows them to terminate at any time and presumably switch carriers" Did anyone catch this?I thought doing that would cost me in excess of $150? Did something change?
    1. Trooper Sam's Avatar
      Trooper Sam -
      Quote Originally Posted by romeo0119 View Post
      One thing I hope that comes out from this suit is that Apple will finally allow customer to get their iphone unlock in the states. I just dont understand why they dont allow this, if you buy the phone at retail price and didnt sign a contract you should be able to request for it to be unlock. Even canada sell the iphone unlock...
      Probably the most valid reason this suit has risen to class action level.

      Neither ATT nor Apple, whether your contract expires or you pay your ETF, will unlock your device. This used to be considered standard, if you requested it. Quite often, you could even get a phone unlocked by a carrier if you were sufficiently into your contract period.

      If you wish to use another carrier in the US? Tough, there is no legitimate method. Going overseas, and wish to use your iPhone that was in fact designed to be a world phone? Tough, there is no legitimate method.

      As such, I don't see this suit as a money grab. I see this as a legitimate attempt to get ATT and Apple to give us what should have been rightly ours to begin with: unlocking our phones on demand once our contract commitment is fulfilled.

      Quote Originally Posted by evileclipse View Post
      "despite an agreement that allows them to terminate at any time and presumably switch carriers" Did anyone catch this?I thought doing that would cost me in excess of $150? Did something change?
      Correct. You pay $150, or whatever was agreed to as the ETF in your contract, and you can terminate your service at will. By paying the ETF, you have fulfilled your end of the contract.
    1. Moeflex456's Avatar
      Moeflex456 -
      Me to
    1. LuckyLuke71's Avatar
      LuckyLuke71 -
      I love my Iphone, but if im paying money for something, then it is mine. If i want to use it on another carrier, I should be able to. Especially if I honored my contract with AT&T. To force me to stay with att because what I paid for wont work with someone else, this is a monopoly. Thats like me buying a car and the dealer telling me I can only drive it in the same city I bought it in. Get real... If you want to force us to a carrier, then give us the phone for free.. they you have a say and Im not out a few hundred dollars..
    1. jcal08's Avatar
      jcal08 -
      This is really kinda dumb to me. If you dont like AT&T, don't use and iPhone if you are not willing to jailbreak unlock it.

      The EVO is only on Sprint, so I'm about to sue now. Oh, and I had a sidekick on T-mo. Let me file a lawsuit against them to, because that phone is still locked to T-mo and has been for 10 years!. And dont get me started on the MOTO DROID!
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      Guys (and gals) .... I'll stop complaining about Apple and AT&T's monopolistic predatory practices after this comment:

      Travel outside the US --- almost anywhere.

      What you'll find? Numerous enlightened countries where it's illegal to lock a phone to a network carrier. And if it is allowed, the phone must be unlocked at the end of the contract.

      In sooooo many ways, the US is way behind other countries. Don't take my word for it --- go and find out for yourself

      Money is greed. Money buys power, Money buys legislation. Money buys votes.
      We may be free, but freedom also breeds unbridled greed. Always stay vigilant.
    1. femibrim's Avatar
      femibrim -
      I suggest this thread be closed, and people start growing up and taking responsibility for their own actions,if u have a problem but u look AND work hard enough and show some patience then u will come upon a solution..... If one is HONEST then we know no one really makes us do anything we already do not want to do.....
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      ^ and if we're really honest .........

      change never occurs until someone complains.

      Oops ... another comment. So I lied. Sue me
    1. GrandMstrBud's Avatar
      GrandMstrBud -
      Quote Originally Posted by jcal08 View Post
      This is really kinda dumb to me. If you dont like AT&T, don't use and iPhone if you are not willing to jailbreak unlock it.

      The EVO is only on Sprint, so I'm about to sue now. Oh, and I had a sidekick on T-mo. Let me file a lawsuit against them to, because that phone is still locked to T-mo and has been for 10 years!. And dont get me started on the MOTO DROID!
      I don't know why people keep comparing this to the Sprint EVO, sidekick, or Moto Droid. For one T-Mobile will unlock your phone once you have fulfilled a portion of your contract so the Sidekick does not compare to this. The EVO and Droid do not compare to this also because all of the 4 major carriers have Android phones so you do have options if you want an Android phone. With the iPhone you are stuck period unless you jailbreak or unlock, even if you have fulfilled your contract and you own the phone. They want to force you to stay on their network and to pay their outrageous international roaming fee's. So please do explain how this compares to the EVO or Droid.
    1. Kariodude's Avatar
      Kariodude -
      Quote Originally Posted by Messany View Post
      What Does Class Action Suit Against Apple, AT&T Mean for iPhone Owners?
      I like how the article doesn't actually answer this question at all.
    1. RICO_'s Avatar
      RICO_ -
      How many articles that are questions ever get answered? And of those that do.....how many get answered CORRECTLY?

      Look how many experts and websites swore up and down that the iPhone 4 would most likely come with 64GB of storage.
    1. jason_wehrwein's Avatar
      jason_wehrwein -
      I like AT&T, and I will keep using them no matter what. I guess it would be nice to have a choice....
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      Quote Originally Posted by jason_wehrwein View Post
      I like AT&T, and I will keep using them no matter what. I guess it would be nice to have a choice....
      Thanks Jason ....

      That exactly what I want. If fact, that's all I want.

      In USA, we don't had a choice --- at ANY COST! Never!

      This is where the rubber meets the road

      (and don't give me this ebay out of the country stuff --- that's no real choice (haha))
    1. delusion950's Avatar
      delusion950 -
      it would mean a lot if att brough back unlimited data plan, and dev-team jailbreak. besidies that people being hungry for money i really dont give **** since no ATT customers are going to get any!!!!
    1. Silverd77's Avatar
      Silverd77 -
      I'm quite happy with AT&T too... Never get dropped calls or poor service... PLUS I speed tested it against a verizon droid, & my AT&T iPhone was consistently 4 X faster!! Their 3G is almost as fast as sprints "4G"