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Apple Hit With Class Action Over Locked AT&T iPhones
Accuses Apple of Violating the Sherman Act
by Karl Bode 08:28AM Monday Oct 22 2012
A new class action lawsuit was filed against Apple late last week for locking consumers into the AT&T Network without first obtaining the consumers' contractual consent to have their iPhones locked. The case accuses Apple of "Conspiracy to monopolize the iPhone voice and data services aftermarket in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act." By locking down customer iPhone to protect AT&T's original exclusive right to sell the device, the lawsuit insists, Apple violated rights within the DMCA allowing consumers the right to modify devices they purchased, or use the network of their choice.

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KA0OUV
Premium
join:2010-02-17
Jefferson City, MO

1 recommendation

The Sherman Antitrust Act

"It's not sexy, but it's got teeth."

Mitch McDeere
The Firm

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

Re: The Sherman Antitrust Act

And I'm not sure it applies here. It's not like people had to buy an iPhone. Yes if you originally wanted an iPhone you had to buy one locked to AT&T, but there were lots of other phones out there at the time.

The fact that the iPhone doesn't have a majority of the market share today should be enough to prove that the original contract did not hurt competition. Actually if anything it limited the number of iPhones out there since originally people on carriers other than AT&T couldn't even get it.

They might have good intentions, but I predict this law suit will be thrown out.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.

N3OGH
Yo Soy Col. "Bat" Guano
Premium
join:2003-11-11
Philly burbs
kudos:2
I always pictured Wilfred Brimley from "Firm" security running corporate security at Appple. It's just what pops in my head.....
--
Petty people are disproportionally corrupted by petty power

IowaCowboy
Iowa native
Premium
join:2010-10-16
Springfield, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon Broadban..
·Comcast

Market pressure

Market pressure was the factor that made Apple decide to release the iPhone on other carriers. Verizon started selling the iPhone before the exclusivity agreement was technically supposed to expire.

I had AT&T before the iPhone was invented (was with AT&T/Cingular from 2004-2011) so buying the iPhone 3GS was just another one of my many upgrades. The iPhone 3GS was the last phone I had on AT&T before buying an iPhone 4 on Verizon.

AT&T was good for the most part but issues with dropped calls and network overloads made me decide to switch to Verizon.
--
Romney-Ryan and Scott Brown are the Right Choice as they are Hope & Change you can count on.

rokman1

@maxis.net.my

Re: Market pressure

Does anyone think there is a remote possibility that Verizon knew of the pending lawsuit and hence decided to keep the iPhone 5 unlocked?

morbo
Complete Your Transaction

join:2002-01-22
00000

Re: Market pressure

Based on their decision making, I believe Verizon management is more intelligent than AT&T management. So yes, that is a real possibility.

Morac
Cat god

join:2001-08-30
Riverside, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
said by rokman1 :

Does anyone think there is a remote possibility that Verizon knew of the pending lawsuit and hence decided to keep the iPhone 5 unlocked?

I believe part of Verizon's deal to acquire certain spectrum that they had to leave the iPhone unlocked, for the same reason that Verizon can't charge for tethering.

Prior to that, Verizon would actually lock phones that had been previously unlocked when the phone was added to Verizon's network.

Also just because the iPhone 5 is unlocked, doesn't mean people who bought a contract can switch without paying the ETF.
--
The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
That would be my guess.
BiggA

join:2005-11-23
EARTH
My guess is that they know their network attracts a lot of well-heeled global travelers, and since they know their international rates suck like all the other carriers, they are working to attract them...
Telco

join:2008-12-19
Reviews:
·Callcentric

I'll join

It's not apple that should be sued, it's AT&T and their dirt-bag practices to monopolize the market.

This entire locking of a handsets, that are already limited to typically two or less carriers in a country of 310 million, is whacky Republinomics (let them self regulate) at its best. Also negates the other BS agreement of the consumer (market) decides; no AT&T decides and tells you like a plutocrat what to do.

LightS
Premium
join:2005-12-17
Greenville, TX

1 edit

Re: I'll join

Yes, we get it, you're left sided. But does EVERYTHING with you have to be a political standoff?

However, it's painfully obvious that you didn't read the article that Karl linked. It's in regards to the first generation iPhone...
Telco

join:2008-12-19
Reviews:
·Callcentric

Re: I'll join

I was speaking in general, including handsets all the way to the 5.

I don't want to mention politics, however, we are suffering because of the policies and creed of the GOP. Because of government legislation, it's prohibited to lock handsets in various countries.

Whereas, the GOP refuses to allow or pass any equivalent legislation here. They want AT&T and Verizon to do as they please, as they have with Walmart.

Transmaster
Don't Blame Me I Voted For Bill and Opus

join:2001-06-20
Cheyenne, WY
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Re: I'll join

said by Telco:

I was speaking in general, including handsets all the way to the 5.

I don't want to mention politics, however, we are suffering because of the policies and creed of the GOP. Because of government legislation, it's prohibited to lock handsets in various countries.

Whereas, the GOP refuses to allow or pass any equivalent legislation here. They want AT&T and Verizon to do as they please, as they have with Walmart.

2000 years from now, Like the Jewish Passover, There will be The GOP Blame Bush Day.
--
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

LightS
Premium
join:2005-12-17
Greenville, TX
Agreed, it's a mixed bag. Being the technological people we are, we would love regulations that benefit us (eg: set a minimum requirement for a bunch of things).

However, where do we stop, is my question? Personally, I'd love some regulations regarding the internet / wireless providers. However, I don't think it would stop there.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA
We're suffering from BOTH sides. GOD I hate this faux 2-party system we have here... Life is never so simple.

Can we talk about phones and DSL and fiber and technology stuff please?

I don't want to hear about politics and if I did I would go to a politic board... Thanks to everyone!

Transmaster
Don't Blame Me I Voted For Bill and Opus

join:2001-06-20
Cheyenne, WY
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Re: I'll join

said by jjeffeory:

We're suffering from BOTH sides. GOD I hate this faux 2-party system we have here... Life is never so simple.

What we need is The Monster Raving Loony party, or the "Loonies"
»www.omrlp.com/
--
I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's.
- Mark Twain in Eruption

cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT

BS.

You can buy a no-contract iPhone straight from AT&T. Unlocking is free and the code is provided by AT&T upon request.
bnceo

join:2007-10-11
Bel Air, MD

Re: BS.

Still not good enough. From the get go, Apple should sell unlocked iPhones. Instead, they wait a few months for demand to die down, then bring them out.

cableties
Premium
join:2005-01-27

Re: BS.

Not good enough?
Wait, we are not talking about the only cellphone/smartphone on the market. you do have choices.

But know that if you want Apple:
-it's not cheap
-it's a closed product
-it's controlled
-it's form over function
-it's cool (opinion)

Look, I am all for having both unlocked* and locked phones. But since Apple isn't the carrier, they may not have ability to create a phone that works on a network without some give and take (yes, you may use our phone on our network, but give us some leeway time to make money).

Can one buy an iPhone 5, right now, unlocked? For any network? Now THAT is the issue. There are 3 types of phones.
Nope.
Go to the apple webstore. You have to pick a phone, then a carrier. Can one get an iPhone 5 unlocked? Notice that they made three types? scary... (all this tech and can't have one universal communicator)

* do you realize that I learned about unlocked phone from BBR (dslreports)? Yep. here, I learned that I don't have to be locked into a contract. just buy a phone, and get a card/number with bucket of service/data. One that waits, can save $.
Those that have to have the newest, fund it.
--
Splat

bbrkdub

join:2001-10-03
Houston, TX

Re: BS.

said by cableties:

Can one buy an iPhone 5, right now, unlocked? For any network? Now THAT is the issue. There are 3 types of phones.
Nope.
Go to the apple webstore. You have to pick a phone, then a carrier. Can one get an iPhone 5 unlocked? Notice that they made three types? scary...

Maybe I'm missing something, but you can buy an unlocked iPhone 5 right now...
»store.apple.com/ca/browse/home/s···/iphone5

I was only asked about color and size. Now, due to current demand, it'll take some time to arrive at your place, but the purchase will be finished. Then again, you can always change your country setting on the Apple website or within iTunes to say...Hong Kong. From there, you can buy the phone as well.

Anyway, I'd skip this model due to chipped paint and purple flares in pictures.
--
Hope this helps...

koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

Re: BS.

That's the Canadian store. You can't get them on the US site.

Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

Re: BS.

I just checked and it looks like you can... 699+

koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

Re: BS.

Go to the US site:

»store.apple.com/us/browse/home/s···/iphone5

Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

Re: BS.

I was just there and saw unlocked, now I don't. Maybe it was the Canadian site I was on but since I typed apple.com not sure how I would have gone to Canadian site.

koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

Re: BS.

It probably was the Canadian site somehow. The US unlocked iPhones have gone for the same as the contract-free phones, which start at $649.

djrobx
Premium
join:2000-05-31
Valencia, CA
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·VOIPO
said by cowboyro:

You can buy a no-contract iPhone straight from AT&T. Unlocking is free and the code is provided by AT&T upon request.

Important part in BOLD:

By locking down customer iPhone to protect AT&T's original exclusive right to sell the device, the lawsuit insists, Apple violated rights within the DMCA allowing consumers the right to modify devices they purchased, or use the network of their choice.

They only recently started offering the option to unlock iPhones. I should have been able to take my original iPhone to T-mobile after my contractual obligations were met.

I'm not really sure who's at fault (AT&T or Apple).
--
AT&T U-Hearse - RIP Unlimited Internet 1995-2011
Rethink Billable.
MaynardKrebs
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

Re: BS.

said by djrobx:

Important part in BOLD:

By locking down customer iPhone to protect AT&T's original exclusive right to sell the device, the lawsuit insists, Apple violated rights within the DMCA allowing consumers the right to modify devices they purchased, or use the network of their choice.

The right to SELL the phone shall not impinge on the user's rights.
Apple gave AT&T the right to sell it vs. say T-Mobile.
The DMCA gave the user the absolute right to unlock it.

LightS
Premium
join:2005-12-17
Greenville, TX
The article linked, which you obviously didn't read, was in reference to the original iPhone.

Also, notice, "upon request." Pretty inconvenient, huh?

kara

@comcast.net

bs

Do lawsuit on both they are to greedy
bsdaiwa

join:2004-06-04
Fullerton, CA

Where Do I Sign Up

Where do I sign up. We purchased two 3GS's on ebay and AT&T refused to unlock them since we did not purchase them directly from them. They refused to unlock one other 3GS when we could not provide the name of the original purchaser, that one was also purchased on ebay. On all occasions they said the phones were past the original contract period but since "we" did not purchase them from AT&T they would not unlock them.
Apple won't unlock them until AT&T approves it.
Again, where do I sign up.

n2jtx

join:2001-01-13
Glen Head, NY

Add Sprint To The List

I would add Sprint to the list too. While they will unlock an iPhone for use with non-USA SIM's (I use a Rogers SIM when I am in Canada), they refuse to unlock any iPhone's for domestic SIM usage even if all contract terms are fulfilled. People who paid the ETF and upgraded to an iPhone 5 have found that they basically have a brick when it comes to using the iPhone with any other USA carrier (GSM). Used Sprint iPhone's have less resale value than used Apple unlocked AT&T iPhone's.

I still have one year to go before my 4S contract is up and hopefully Sprint will be removing all locks by that time or someone will have taken them to court too.
--
I support the right to keep and arm bears.
wkm001

join:2009-12-14

This use to be less of a big deal...

when it was CDMA and GSM. Now most carriers are deploying LTE. But more and more phones have CDMA, GSM, and LTE in them. I think someone should sue the FCC for doing a terrible job with carrier interoperability. It is obviously feasible from a technical standpoint. AT&T and Verizon don't want other phones or smaller carriers on their network.

AVD
Respice, Adspice, Prospice
Premium
join:2003-02-06
Onion, NJ
kudos:1

Re: This use to be less of a big deal...

said by wkm001:

when it was CDMA and GSM. Now most carriers are deploying LTE. But more and more phones have CDMA, GSM, and LTE in them. I think someone should sue the FCC for doing a terrible job with carrier interoperability. It is obviously feasible from a technical standpoint. AT&T and Verizon don't want other phones or smaller carriers on their network.

list one phone that can technically operate on more than one LTE carrier.
--
--Standard disclaimers apply.--

boosprint

@tresourcegroup.com

re sprint unlock

Even after the phone was supposedly unlocked, it was not, even when iTunes said it is. My upgrade was around, got the iPhone 5, sold it, made 300 bucks profit on top of the purchase price, sold my iPhone 4s for another 300(international unlocked), paid sprint off and ported out. pluck you sprint
stufried
Premium
join:2003-10-13

1 edit

Class Action Suits Have Become a Joke

Even if counsel wins, they'll get $50,000,000 in attorney fees and we will get a voucher for $5 of free apps (of their choice) which can only be claimed between April 24 and 29th, 2013 and after 11pm.
ackman

join:2000-10-04
Atlanta, GA

Funny

The Sherman Act was abandoned around 30 years ago. Would be nice if any administration's Justice Dept believed in enforcing the law, but that's a pipe dream. Oracle Corp and AT&T are the poster children for the destruction of Antitrust laws.
tmc8080

join:2004-04-24
Brooklyn, NY
Reviews:
·ooma
·Optimum Online
·Verizon FiOS

manure

from what I hear, the Iphone 5 is crap.. it's quite possibly worse than the good old windows-me operating system from microsoft.

when a company makes a crap product, people should stop caring about it so much and move on..

in the end, Apple will spend so much on lawyers (for various actions, not just this one) that this huge market cap will be squandered faster than the housing market on Gangnam Style economics..
ArizonaSteve

join:2004-01-31
Apache Junction, AZ

Wait, don't they all do that?

Don't all the carriers lock their phones? You can't even use a Virgin Mobile phone on Sprint (even though it already uses Sprint) so why are they just picking on Apple?
openbox9
Premium
join:2004-01-26
japan
kudos:2

Re: Wait, don't they all do that?

This suit should be filed against AT&T, not Apple IMO. And yes, a majority of carriers lock their devices, primarily to protect themselves. The only thing this will do if the plaintiff wins is increase the ETFs.