Another day, another lawsuit. Four American iPhone users have launched a class action suit against Apple over its exclusive deals with carriers in the country and the way it runs the App Store, reports “The Register” (http://macte.ch/4cEYW).
Apple partnered with US carrier AT&T when it first brought the Jesus-mobe to stores in 2007, in a five-year exclusivity agreement that tied users to an AT&T SIM card with no option to use another network.
The four plaintiffs in the case are arguing that the restrictive partnership violates the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Why? It didn’t give customers the “absolute legal right to modify their phones to use the network of their carrier of choice” notes “The Register.”
The complaint (http://macte.ch/qUTv8) reads this way: “Prior to launch, Apple entered into a secret five-year contract with AT&T that established AT&T as the exclusive provider of cell phone voice and data services for iPhone customers through some time in 2012. As part of the contract, Apple shared in AT&T’s revenues and profits with respect to the first generation of iPhones launched, known as the iPhone 2G, which was a unique arrangement in the industry. The Plaintiffs and other class members who purchased iPhones did not agree to use AT&T for five years. Apple’s undisclosed five-year Exclusivity Agreement with AT&T, however, effectively locked iPhone users into using AT&T for five years, contrary to those users’ knowledge, wishes and expectations.
“… Through these actions, Apple has unlawfully stifled competition, reduced output and consumer choice, and artificially increased prices in the aftermarkets for iPhone voice and data services and for iPhone software applications.”
The lawsuit is seeking a court order that stops Apple from selling locked iPhones unless it makes the terms clear and forces it to hand over the unlock code to everyone who already has a locked iPhone, notes “The Register.” The suit also wants the court to end the firm’s monopoly in the Apple App Store.