Print 21 comment(s) - last by Anoxanmore.. on Jul 13 at 8:30 AM

Numerous other suits await on the horizon

The iPhone may be a hot seller, but it has landed Apple and AT&T in hot legal water in a variety of ways.  Apple currently faces several high profile class action lawsuits over its practice of locking phones to the AT&T network and trying to "brick" (render useless) the phones of those who escape its clutches via unlocking.

Now another suit against Apple and AT&T has been granted class action status [PDF].  Filed back in October 2007, the suit accuses the pair of colluding to deceive the customer by offering two-year contracts with the iPhone handset, when in reality the phone was locked to AT&T's network until 2012.

Anyone who bought an iPhone between the original launch date -- June 29, 2007 -- and the present day is eligible to join the class.

The suit likely would never have come about if it wasn't for Apple's severe policy of hardware locking.  To date, Apple has not made it clear whether the locking comes at the insistence of AT&T or on its own volition.  Locking the hardware clearly benefits both companies.  Apple gains a lucrative contract fee from AT&T, while AT&T gets a massive influx of new subscribers.

By refusing to allow the iPhone to be unlocked, customers aren't free to migrate to another U.S.-based carrier like T-mobile or use the phone overseas with foreign SIMs (without software hacks). Interestingly, AT&T allows unlocking of all other phones on its network, but specifically exempts the iPhone from such freedom.

Apple and AT&T also face a new class action suit over the antenna and signal woes in the iPhone 4.  

The new phone is also reportedly experiencing a variety of other problems, including proximity sensor issues.  It has also not helped Apple's cause as it tries to hold off a hungry Android army.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Oh yes....
By Anoxanmore on 7/12/2010 10:23:54 AM , Rating: 2
The consumer: My name is The Consumer, you locked my iPhone, prepare to be sued.

RE: Oh yes....
By Anoxanmore on 7/12/2010 10:27:18 AM , Rating: 5
Steve Jobs: You only think I guessed wrong! That's what's so funny! I switched carriers when your back was turned! Ha ha! You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders - The most famous of which is "never get involved in a land war in Asia" - but only slightly less well-known is this: "Never go against an Apple product when profit is on the line"! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha...

[Steve jobs stops suddenly, its smile frozen on his face and falls to the right out of camera dead]

Other Carriers: And to think, all that time it was your phone that was unlocked.

The consumer: They were both unlocked. I spent the last few years building up an immunity to bullshit.

RE: Oh yes....
By Unfixedyouth on 7/12/2010 11:39:51 AM , Rating: 2
Princess Bride - I love you.

RE: Oh yes....
By marvdmartian on 7/12/2010 2:37:15 PM , Rating: 1
Someone please bump this person's comment rating up to a 6??

RE: Oh yes....
By Azure Sky on 7/12/2010 8:03:06 PM , Rating: 1

RE: Oh yes....
By B3an on 7/12/2010 11:43:26 PM , Rating: 1
-2 more like. These things are getting so old. It happens nearly every time on an Apple article or similar. And this specific quote has been done multiple times and changed. It was funny at first but not anymore sheeple.

RE: Oh yes....
By Anoxanmore on 7/13/2010 8:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
It is my job on DT to be the Princess Bride modified quote person. :)

I wish you'd have a sense of humor and I do it on more than Apple articles. :)

RE: Oh yes....
By VahnTitrio on 7/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Oh yes....
By erikstarcher on 7/12/2010 1:41:04 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, as far as the antenna goes, if you don't like it, return it. Yes it may be a bad design, but no one is forcing you to keep the pos. Now, if they didn't have a return policy that would be a different story. Just because you are not satisfied with a product doesn't mean you can sue to get what you want. You return it and buy something that does satisfy you or STFU. The best way to show Apple you care about quality is to not give them any money unless you get what you want, not what they want to give you.

I don't get it
By mydogfarted on 7/12/2010 10:37:12 AM , Rating: 3
Does this mean that I can sue Verizon because I can only use my Droid on their network?

RE: I don't get it
By Bateluer on 7/12/2010 10:43:27 AM , Rating: 2
Depends how the lawsuit turns out. If it ends in the consumer's favor, then we could see the end of locked phones, or, at least, if you pay full price for a phone or are out of contract, you can unlock without reprecussions.

For the record, I think this class lawsuit suit is pretty flimsy. I'd rather see a MUCH bigger storm over the iPhone 4's antenna engineering flaw.

RE: I don't get it
By erikstarcher on 7/12/2010 1:56:34 PM , Rating: 5
I'd like to see people return their iPhones instead. Why sue over a design flaw? What is the likely outcome of that? They are not going to redesign it and give everyone a new unit. They will just give everyone a $10 iTunes credit and tell them to keep the phone. Everybody needs to speak Apples language, return the phone, get your money back, then Apple will take notice, design iPhone 4.5 with an antenna fix. It makes no sense to buy a bad design then sue. Don't but it to begin with.

RE: I don't get it
By Solandri on 7/12/2010 4:15:57 PM , Rating: 2
Depends how the lawsuit turns out. If it ends in the consumer's favor, then we could see the end of locked phones, or, at least, if you pay full price for a phone or are out of contract, you can unlock without reprecussions.

I dunno, even if it ends in the consumer's favor, I could see them getting off on a DMCA-like technicality. The DMCA does not touch your fair use rights to take excerpts from (for example) DVDs or to use it for satire. But it makes it illegal to own or to tell other people where to get the tools you need to unlock the DVD. That is, you still have the right to fair use, but they made it illegal for you to get or use the tools you need to exercise that right.

I could see a similar outcome here, where the court decides you have the right to unlock your phone. But in order to prevent unlocking of phones still under contract, they make it illegal to find or obtain the tools you need to unlock any phone. IMHO the best outcome would be a court order for the carriers themselves to unlock phones when they go out of contract, or buy them back used at full market (unsubsidized, as if they were unlocked) price.

RE: I don't get it
By tech4tac on 7/12/2010 1:24:06 PM , Rating: 2
In the CDMA world, phones are locked by an MSL and PRL. There are other methods but they are not commonly used except by prepaid carriers. Verizon's phones, unlike Sprint's, are already unlocked as they use an MSL of 000000 and loading the PRL of a different carrier is a matter of technical know-how. Whether another carrier will accept a foreign serial number (i.e. ESN/MEID) onto their network is up to that carrier.

You're going to have to sue them with a different approach, not unlocking, if you're doing it based on the exclusivity angle.

RE: I don't get it
By Omega215D on 7/13/2010 2:48:57 AM , Rating: 2
Depends. If your Droid has the NA GSM bands along with CDMA and this lawsuit favors the consumer then maybe.

Your Droid definitely contains CDMA meaning you can only move to Sprint or regional carriers that use CDMA.

The Army is coming for sure.
By PAPutzback on 7/12/2010 10:23:23 AM , Rating: 5
Everytime I go to the Android Market I find another awesome free app. Not to mention the free wireless tethering app. That came in handy when my daughter wanted to download a game from the Nintendo store while out on a long trip. Does the iPhone have an App for that for free?

RE: The Army is coming for sure.
By icanhascpu on 7/12/2010 2:10:19 PM , Rating: 1
Thats whats great about competition. Every market needs companies to lead the way into new sectors and start taking the front line damage.

Likewise, where do you think the CPU market would be without AMD? Intel would just be introducing P4s.

Moral of the story; dont demonize these companies too much, because it might just come back to kick you in the wallet. Buy what fits your use the best and enjoy the competition that will inevitably swing back and forth between brands.

Apple & AT&T are fuxking gay.
By chick0n on 7/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Apple & AT&T are fuxking gay.
By EJ257 on 7/12/2010 11:42:45 AM , Rating: 2
You could pay full price in the US and the Apple store will unlock it for you and its no contract too.

By icanhascpu on 7/12/2010 2:13:55 PM , Rating: 1
I get the feeling you wont be the posterboy for why to get Andriod.

I don't understand
By littvay on 7/12/2010 5:51:36 PM , Rating: 2
I don't understand this policy. An iPhone has no 3G compatibility with any other company. If you take it to AT&T you are stuck with EDGE speeds. And why does AT&T care if you take it out of the country? I guess you are not paying ridiculous roaming if you travel and use a pre-paid card. But they don't care about this for any other handsets. Apple is unlocking handsets in other countries. In some, locking phones is illegal. In others (like my home country) they unlock for a small fee (about $40-50 USD) when your contract is up. But not in the US. I would have bought an iPhone from Apple (unsubsidized price) and would be pre-paid/family plan on AT&T already if they were willing to unlock when I am done being in the US and want to take my hardware back to Europe. But now I am stuck with a Nexus One which I like less than my old iPhone 3G... But I need multitasking. I know that people like me are not a big market but give everything else laid out above does anyone understand why the hell they play this stupid game of no unlocking?

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki