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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. Alperovich's Avatar
      Alperovich -
      Quote Originally Posted by Owen Priestley View Post
      It is stupid how much power AT&T have over iPhone customers. Here in the UK you can buy an iPhone on Pay as you Go and use any sim card in it. You can also choose to take out a contract with a free iPhone with practically any provider (Orange, O2, T-Mobile, Tesco, Vodafone..). An added bonus is that competition between the networks drives prices even lower
      yup. exactly! this is what the suit is about, the monopoly apple and ATT created.
    1. Mes's Avatar
      Mes -
      @babyblue....

      Wake up!!! Are u really that blinded by Apples spin-machine?
    1. GrandMstrBud's Avatar
      GrandMstrBud -
      I hope the outcome is that they will allow AT&T customers who have purchased a phone and fulfilled their contract the ability to have "their" phones unlocked or people who have paid full price for this phone. T-Mobile will allow you to unlock their phones after a certain percentage of the contract is fulfilled and even Sprint with their world phone you can get it unlocked through Sprint. It's not just about using it on another carrier in the US, some people travel and don't want to have to pay the outrageous international roaming fee's that AT&T knows they can force you to pay. I don’t even think AT&T will allow you to put in an AT&T prepaid SIM in and use it for phone and texting with WiFi for data without switching you to the iPhone plan. I believe every other AT&T phone they will unlock for you so what is so different about the iPhone? And for those talking about the Droid with Verizon and the EVO with Sprint these are Android phones and you can get the android based phone on all of the 4 major carriers so how is that compare to this? This is just my opinion of course.
    1. moon#pie's Avatar
      moon#pie -
      you have the choice to buy an iphone. Nobody held a get to your head and told you to get one. You also knew that it was a package deal (att + iPhone).

      Quote Originally Posted by Mes View Post
      @babyblue....

      Wake up!!! Are u really that blinded by Apples spin-machine?
      nope. you are
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      People who are saying this is just another money hungry group of people looking for a lawsuit don't get the whole picture. The BIGGEST issue here (IMO) is that ATT won't unlock a phone EVEN IF YOU STAY WITH THEM! Basically, if you go outside the US with your iPhone you are technically locked to paying outrageous overages because you have no other choice. Hopefully this lawsuit opens peoples eyes in the US that locked phones are simply ridiculous. One can still subsidize a phone no problems without the phone NEEDING to be locked to another carrier. Am I looking for money on this one? No, although I have had every iPhone since its inception. What I am looking for is to hopefully put an end to this practice of locking phones forever... and before people say "everyone does it" in the US, when I was a TMO customer all I had to do was call them and they emailed me instructions on how to permanently FACTORY unlock my blackberry free of charge (I had it for roughly 6 months). I even told them the reason I wanted it was a trip to Europe we were taking and the reps were MORE than helpful. THAT is how it should be!

      Quote Originally Posted by PhoneLine View Post
      Amazing isn't it? Can we sue T-Mobile cause I can't get a Eric Clapton My Touch on Boost mobile too?
      No, but you can sue them for not unlocking it for you... oh wait, they WILL unlock it for you as long as you request they do so!

      This lawsuit is NOT about hardware. The iPhone wouldn't work with full 3G in the US on any carrier outside of ATT, but, again, that is not the ground of the suit.
    1. Brinky's Avatar
      Brinky -
      Yeah cause I so wanted to use my iPhone in the even crappier TMobile network.
    1. iphone?3gs's Avatar
      iphone?3gs -
      This case wont get anywhere.... people have a choice of what phone they can get after the two-year contract ends.... and if they are so bound with the platform and they still want to switch carriers then thats there fault or they can get an iPod Touch....


      At&t has been awesome with me and like Conas said too, i rather they not spend money that they could be using to fix the network....

      Also, At&t does not HAVE to unlock the phone by law and tmobile and att do for some phones at the end of contract or for other reasons.... You can unlock it by yourself, but neither carrier is compelled to unlock phones by any law or regulation.
    1. texan's Avatar
      texan -
      Just give me the JB!
    1. buttrr76's Avatar
      buttrr76 -
      Be patient it's not like your doing anything to help

      Quote Originally Posted by texan View Post
      Just give me the JB!
      Why are people are demanding for something they are lucky to get for free. Be patient. Seems like the people who been here since day one ( 1st gen. iPhone ) are patient and appreciate the dev teams work. Everyone else just don't have the respect.
    1. boxxa's Avatar
      boxxa -
      Oh dear god.

      These are getting retarded. No one forced you to buy an iPhone. You are able to use other phones and carriers at will. If you bought your phone at retail price you can do whatever you want contract wise.

      Phone get made for carriers and stay exclusive. Its the market and keeps two large carriers who have similar service capabilities diffent.

      Great waste of time.
    1. whereswaldo's Avatar
      whereswaldo -
      How did this take 3 years?
    1. CaptainChaos's Avatar
      CaptainChaos -
      This will go no where. You knew when you purchased an iPhone that it was strictly AT&T. AT&T does not have to unlock any phone they have. When they do unlock them it is because they are being nice enough to do so. We do not have laws regarding unlocks like other countries do. You agreed to a contract. Period.
    1. kapre2000's Avatar
      kapre2000 -
      For real, if you bought an iphone, you had to sign a contract for two years. You knew that before you signed on the dotted line. Whats the issue? Us americans are so damn spoiled and greedy that we need to complain about everything. Its embarrasing! No wonder so many people in the world hate americans. We spent to much time complaining about the dumbest things. I mean come on, someone is trying to sue mcdonalds because they sell toys with happy meals and kids get fat when they eat the happy meals. DONT BUY YOUR CHILD A HAPPY MEAL THEN!!!! & DONT BUY THE IPHONE IF YOU DONT WANT THE CONTRACT. Its that simple.

      Grow up america. Spend your energy on trying to help the growing death rate, or the number of people losing jobs, or the starvation,etc. To much other Sh*t to worry about!
    1. aidensocal's Avatar
      aidensocal -
      So you are only a member of this class if you rode out your entire 2 year contract and then did not renew, anyone who ever upgraded to a newer iPhone renewed a contract and agreed to be tied to the carrier, so the size of the class is actually much much smaller.
    1. mr117's Avatar
      mr117 -
      Verizon TURNED DOWN Apple's offer of the iPhone at the start. How is that AT&T's issue? They were smart or lucky enough to take a chance and it paid off.

      However, I do believe under the Consumer's Bill of Rights for Cellular Communication, all phones were supposed to work on all systems, so you didn't have to buy a new phone when you changed carriers. But no one seems to be enforcing it. As well as the two carriers using different systems, which complicates things.

      I do have AT&T and it does work well here in Souther California. Others may have different views.
    1. GranDaddyPurp's Avatar
      GranDaddyPurp -
      just like the majority of this thread is saying, you knew that you had to be tied into a AT&T contract for 2 years if you wanted the iPhone in the US. There's no need for complaining and crying. If you didn't want to be tied with AT&T then you should've went on eBay and bought the iPhone itself without a contract and wait for an unlock. Point.blank.period.
    1. stlcaddie's Avatar
      stlcaddie -
      Quote Originally Posted by Patato22 View Post
      Using Simple Mobile i have full signal all the time fast internet data all for 60 dollars jajaja im living the life on my iphone 3GS
      That's what most of my people here in St Louis use. Works pretty damn good.
    1. sammy1977's Avatar
      sammy1977 -
      AT&T wasn't too bad service wise, there rate plan on the other hand is purely ridiculous and out of greed IMO. Thats why I glady have T Mobile...
    1. Teoyaomqui's Avatar
      Teoyaomqui -
      Quote Originally Posted by mr117 View Post
      Verizon TURNED DOWN Apple's offer of the iPhone at the start. How is that AT&T's issue? They were smart or lucky enough to take a chance and it paid off.

      However, I do believe under the Consumer's Bill of Rights for Cellular Communication, all phones were supposed to work on all systems, so you didn't have to buy a new phone when you changed carriers. But no one seems to be enforcing it. As well as the two carriers using different systems, which complicates things.

      I do have AT&T and it does work well here in Southern California. Others may have different views.
      You are right but this suit is from Norther California. That should tell you something. Wasting taxes on this. Get a grip losers, you sign a contract now deal with it.
    1. GhStRdR2k's Avatar
      GhStRdR2k -
      I was forced to use AT&T? I thought I chose to use AT&T....