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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. ramicio's Avatar
      ramicio -
      Yes you can. Not at people are around people, but the government doesn't tell you you can't fire your gun at all...Your logic is flawed. Guns kill people. Jailbreaking iphones is a matter of capital. It doesn't hurt anyone physically. If you buy a computer you are allowed to modify it however you want!

      The fact is that apple has NO RIGHT to not unlock phones after they are out of contract! It is a monopoly because if I want to sell my phone when it's out of contract to someone on another provider, it is locked. They are ensuring that anyone who wants an iphone affordably will just go to AT&T. They should especially unlock phones they decided to not manufacture or support anymore.
    1. wipeoutxxl's Avatar
      wipeoutxxl -
      I ended up buying the Micro Cell because everyone with AT&T at my house had terrible coverage anyway.... for $150.00.... i've spent worse on dumber things... so I said why the hell not. It's a one time fee from AT&T store for $150.00+tax and activated at no charge and helps. I had T-Mobile for the last year and switched back because my 3GS was god awful slow on the Edge network when it came down to internet and data usage and was worth the extra $40.00 a month to get back to 3G......
    1. area51crypto's Avatar
      area51crypto -
      Quote Originally Posted by wipeoutxxl View Post
      I ended up buying the Micro Cell because everyone with AT&T at my house had terrible coverage anyway.... for $150.00.... i've spent worse on dumber things... so I said why the hell not. It's a one time fee from AT&T store for $150.00+tax and activated at no charge and helps. I had T-Mobile for the last year and switched back because my 3GS was god awful slow on the Edge network when it came down to internet and data usage and was worth the extra $40.00 a month to get back to 3G......
      I thought there was a $5 or $10 monthly charge also!
    1. iphone?3gs's Avatar
      iphone?3gs -
      What people dont understand by law att or apple is not required to unlock there phone!!!!!
    1. ramicio's Avatar
      ramicio -
      So if you have a carrier that DOES unlock the iphone, and you want it unlocked, but someone at the carrier is in a bad mood or companies change their mind, that isn't illegal? I don't get why apple is immune to "not having to unlock the phone?"
    1. GrandMstrBud's Avatar
      GrandMstrBud -
      Quote Originally Posted by trek-life View Post
      People, people, people.

      There is a simple fix to all this. Get another phone on another network. Seems simple enough to me. You don't HAVE TO have an "iPhone." It's a luxury purchase. The incredible is a really good phone. Try that. I hear the EVO is good. Try that.

      If you "choose" to purchase an iPhone, accept the terms, or just don't buy one.

      There you have it, lawsuit settled, world returned to normal.
      How does this fix the fact that you can't get a phone that you own unlocked after you fulfilled your contract? You can do this with every other phone on AT&T.

      Quote Originally Posted by nightsoarer View Post
      "Whiny b!tchs" didn't make this country great, they made this country hated by all the rest of the world. "Brave People" on the other hand stood up for things that mattered, things such as suffrage, liberty, and justice. I hardly find it justified to complain about a product that happens to only be sold under one service carrier. Like many others have said, does that mean Sprint's EVO should be turned over to other networks, or Verizon's Droid lineup go to any other network, which by the way both are not designed to work with ATT's network (CDMA vs SIM). This whole law suit is a bunch of BS. Just because a product is so hugely successful after another carrier passed it up doesn't mean everyone's entitled to a handout. Yeah sure, it'd be nice if it were on other networks, HOWEVER, no one is entitled to it. You have a choice as to whether to get it or not. Choose. This is exactly like the lawsuit towards McDonald's making people fat. You don't like the results of a fat/calorie induced burger, go somewhere else like Subway! People complain way too much. Everyone's entitled to everything nowadays. So sad.



      Just because all of the other 4 carriers have Android phones doesn't justify the EVO only being available on one network if we're comparing this to the whole iPhone exclusivity situation. The EVO is a far superior phone to that of the rest of the Android family, it has 4g compatibility, it has an 8 megapixel camera on the back with a high quality front facing camera, and a larger screen. So where's my EVO on Verizon or TMobile? I want the highest resolution pictures possible and video chat capability on the Verizon network, so I'll sue Sprint for the EVO! That's the kind of 'reasoning' being used here. It doesn't add up. There is another alternative, get the service you want by buying a different phone on a different network and get an iPod Touch if you really hate ATT that much.
      Do you work for AT&T or Apple? Again for the last time this does not come close to comparing to the EVO or Droid. The EVO is 4G and Sprint is the only US carrier to offer 4G right now plus Srintís 4G uses a different technology than what Verizons 4G service will so how can you say where is my Verizon EVO? Also the EVO is an HTC phone and so is the Droid and both have the same processor so you do have a choice. I love the Android phone and I can choose which carrier I want to use it on. T-Mobile will unlock it for you so you can use it on AT&T and AT&T will unlock their Android phone but not the iPhone. This thread is about AT&T keeping it's customers from getting their iPhone unlocked.
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      Quote Originally Posted by iphone?3gs View Post
      What people dont understand by law att or apple is not required to unlock there phone!!!!!
      The US Constitution and the Bill of Rights were created to protect us, the people --- not Apple and AT&T. We the people decide!! We MUST exercise our right to determine what IS or IS NOT allowed in our country whether it requires a new law, or a modification to an existing one.

      Sometimes our politicians get it right, and sometimes not. Fortunately, we have a court system to decide.

      Never forget ---- Change starts with a single voice.
      We the people decide! This my friends, is the purest example of true democracy.
    1. leo_3GS's Avatar
      leo_3GS -
      YOU are an IDIOT. i am not even going to begin to argue because its not even worth it. that was the dumbest thing i have ever read
    1. ziger's Avatar
      ziger -
      So long as all we are asking is that at the end of our contract - either through the payoff or finishing our commitment we get the freaking phone legally unlocked to use on another carrier. That seems to be simple enough. Of course, w/o cash on the line you can't get anything done anyway. So give me my 20 cent rebate on new products I don't want. Just make sure there is a legal unlock. My mom can't keep jail breaking straight!

      Zig.
    1. nightsoarer's Avatar
      nightsoarer -
      Quote Originally Posted by GrandMstrBud View Post
      How does this fix the fact that you can't get a phone that you own unlocked after you fulfilled your contract? You can do this with every other phone on AT&T.



      Do you work for AT&T or Apple? Again for the last time this does not come close to comparing to the EVO or Droid. The EVO is 4G and Sprint is the only US carrier to offer 4G right now plus Srint’s 4G uses a different technology than what Verizons 4G service will so how can you say where is my Verizon EVO? Also the EVO is an HTC phone and so is the Droid and both have the same processor so you do have a choice. I love the Android phone and I can choose which carrier I want to use it on. T-Mobile will unlock it for you so you can use it on AT&T and AT&T will unlock their Android phone but not the iPhone. This thread is about AT&T keeping it's customers from getting their iPhone unlocked.
      Actually yes, I do work for a subsidy of AT&T, and the overall concept is the same. Where do you work? Every carrier has exclusives and just because a certain exclusive phone is highly successful and highly sought after does not mean everyone is entitled to reaping the profits of it. And you've got to be kidding me when you say this does not even come close to the EVO or Droid, I'm talking about in regards to exclusivity, because it completely does. Obviously the phones are different but the fact that certain phones are only available under certain carriers is typical, it's business. It's ridiculous to sue Apple for deciding to provide a product exclusively through one carrier when everyone else is doing the exact same thing.. Just because the Droid OS is available under different carriers doesn't justify people complaining about iOS only being available under AT&T when certain phones like the EVO are carried only under Sprint. The OS is the same, yes, but the phone itself is different and boasts different features, making it a carrier exclusive, hence the advertising of The HTC EVO EXCLUSIVELY from Sprint. Again, every carrier has exclusives. And how can you say where's my Verizon iPhone when AT&T uses completely different technology than what Verizon's CDMA service provides? Sure Sprint's EVO isn't made to work with Verizon's network or AT&T's network for that matter, one reason being it's a 4g phone, but neither is AT&T's iPhone made to work with Verizon's network. That's my point. How can you demand a Verizon iPhone? It's hypocritical. You say "I love the android phone and I can choose which carrier I want it on." That's not true, you can choose to buy a phone with the Android OS but that doesn't mean your getting the same phone by a long shot.

      That's all I am saying. I know this thread was originally about unlocking phones after the contract is up, which makes sense and I'm all for. But if you've actually been reading the comments, many of them are demanding that the iPhone exclusivity be up and the phone switch to Verizon... the usual fuss.
    1. maddawg05's Avatar
      maddawg05 -
      ^ are u sure that's all your saying....lol.
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      Quote Originally Posted by nightsoarer View Post
      ..
      Exclusives are normal business dealings. Most don't have an issue with this.

      What is completely unfair (and hopefully illegal -- and if not illegal could easily become so) is to continue to restrict, continue to lock LONG AFTER the contract or exclusivity has expired. In Apple/AT&T's case --- that time is FOREVER! That is just wrong! Plain and simple. To make it worse --- forever applies only to Americans. Apple is an American company giving the shaft to Americans.
    1. tom q's Avatar
      tom q -
      Quote Originally Posted by ramicio View Post
      Yes you can. Not at people are around people, but the government doesn't tell you you can't fire your gun at all...Your logic is flawed. Guns kill people. Jailbreaking iphones is a matter of capital. It doesn't hurt anyone physically. If you buy a computer you are allowed to modify it however you want!

      The fact is that apple has NO RIGHT to not unlock phones after they are out of contract! It is a monopoly because if I want to sell my phone when it's out of contract to someone on another provider, it is locked. They are ensuring that anyone who wants an iphone affordably will just go to AT&T. They should especially unlock phones they decided to not manufacture or support anymore.
      wow...you mean you take the GUN analogy literally...that's what I mean by a flaw in our society, lack of understanding and comprehension!!!!

      If you want to unlock, don't depend on the company. You said the idevice is yours and you own it. So in that case, do the JB and unlocking yourself.

      Here's another analogy: Let's say you own a car (Civic) and you want to change the stereo. Do YOU demand Honda to change it?
    1. nightsoarer's Avatar
      nightsoarer -
      Quote Originally Posted by Mes View Post
      Exclusives are normal business dealings. Most don't have an issue with this.

      What is completely unfair (and hopefully illegal -- and if not illegal could easily become so) is to continue to restrict, continue to lock LONG AFTER the contract or exclusivity has expired. In Apple/AT&T's case --- that time is FOREVER! That is just wrong! Plain and simple. To make it worse --- forever applies only to Americans. Apple is an American company giving the shaft to Americans.
      I completely agree with you. AT&T should be unlocking the phone if requested to once the contract is up, I'm all for that. I was just addressing the many people that keep complaining about how the iPhone should come to Verizon and such. Some people think this whole lawsuit concerns the iPhone coming to Verizon when it really doesn't. But apparently a lot of people have a problem with carrier exclusives if you read half the comments.

      Quote Originally Posted by maddawg05 View Post
      ^ are u sure that's all your saying....lol.
      Lol yeah I know, my novel lengthed comment was really meant to be more concise. O well.
    1. fklentz's Avatar
      fklentz -
      What really pi$$e$ me off, I had my first Iphone gen 1 sitting in my desk as I had upgraded to a 3G when my contract had expired so here's another new 2 year contract. My girlfriend sees it and asks if I could add it to my plan and then she could use it, I said sure. After committing to GF the ATT store say's I'll need to sign a NEW 2 year contract for the old phone that I had already had fulfilled a 2 year contract on? WTF. I thought the contract was done to defer the cost of the subsidized price of the phone. They really should get ATT to stop this practice, class action or not that seems unfair and maybe illegal.
    1. djjessejames's Avatar
      djjessejames -
      I lived in L.A. and didnt mind AT&T... lol.
      Glad to be moved back to Canada. Even with the higher plan prices
    1. HeavyD4's Avatar
      HeavyD4 -
      I second that,all the haters bash AT&T but they want there product,I like it exclusive cuz if other comp. get it everyone is gonna get it,I hate having what everyone else has,let them stick with that crappy Droid sh*t!