According to a story in Computerworld, plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Apple going back to October 2007 asked the judge on Wednesday to order the company to release the source code to iPhone firmware update 1.1.1. The plaintiffs claim that the update was specifically designed to "brick," or render inoperable, any iPhone that had been unlocked.
The lawsuit alleges that Apple and AT&T violated state and federal antitrust laws by entering into a multi-year exclusive contract naming AT&T as the sole carrier in the United States, and preventing users from being able to unlock their phones for use on other networks. The plaintiffs seek an injunction against Apple to prevent the company from selling the iPhone with any software lock. They also want to force Apple to honor warranty service to users of unlocked iPhones and to allow iPhone users to get their phone service through other carriers than AT&T.
The lawsuit was originally filed after iPhone firmware release 1.1.1 permanently disabled many unlocked first-generation iPhones. When users of unlocked phones began the install, they received the following message:
Warning: Apple has discovered that some of the unauthorized unlocking programs available on the Internet may cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software. If you have modified your iPhone's software, applying this software update may result in your iPhone becoming permanently inoperable.
The plaintiffs are also trying to make the case a class-action lawsuit. If the judge grants that request - indicating that he believes that the plaintiffs represent a much larger group of people that have suffered a common injury - other iPhone users would be able to join the lawsuit.
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