Federal Judge James Ware of the US District Court for the Northern District of California OKs a Class Action Lawsuit against Apple and AT&T. The lawsuit claims that the companies “locked” phones for use only on one network. The federal judge indicated that the monopoly abuse lawsuit can move as a class action. Several previous lawsuits are consolidated into this one, the first one starting in late 2007 after the first generation iPhone went on sale.
One of the consolidated lawsuits from mid 2008 complains about Apple’s practice of locking the phone not only to be used with AT&T’s network but by controlling what applications can and cannot be installed on the smartphones. This lawsuit also claims that Apple and AT&T secretly made an exclusive arrangement for five years. When consumers were locked into contracts for two years, they were unknowingly locked for five years if they wanted to keep the device in use as it is not possible to carry on an iPhone to another network. Those consumers who purchased the phones and went through their 2 year agreement should have been allowed to move on to other compatible networks. The lawsuit claims that these actions hurt competition and drove prices up for the consumers.
Court documents filed on July 8, indicate that the court said parts of the lawsuit deal with violations to antitrust law and can continue as a class action. This particular class action includes anyone who bought an iPhone with a two year AT&T agreement since the smartphone was initially put on sale in June of 2007.