Apple & AT&T sued over iPhone | iLounge News


Apple & AT&T sued over iPhone

The law firms of Folkenflik & McGerity and Hoffman & Lazear have filed a $1.2 billion class action suit on behalf of iPhone owners against Apple and AT&T Mobility (AT&T’s cellular unit) in US District Court. The case, Paul Holman and Lucy Rivello v. Apple, Inc., AT&T Mobility, LLC., claims that the companies’ agreements to restrict iPhone users to using only the AT&T cellular network for voice and data, and to restrict users to using only applications from Apple, run afoul of Federal antitrust laws, California antitrust laws, and California unfair trade practice laws. The suit goes on to say that Apple and AT&T are liable for “computer trespass”, based on the recent 1.1.1 iPhone software release, which disabled many SIM unlocks, third-party software, and left some users’ phones inoperable. The suit claims these changes were not technically required for the new features Apple was offering in the update.

“There is little question that Apple and AT&T have misused Apple’s programs to improperly coerce consumers to buy only AT&T voice and data services and only Apple programs. That is unlawful under both Federal and state laws, and any terms in Apple’s and AT&T’s contracts to the contrary are also unlawful and unenforceable,” said Max Folkenflik, one of the attorneys on the case. “Apple and AT&T have no more right or technological justification for forcing iPhone users to use only AT&T service and Apple applications than Ford would to force car owners to use only Ford batteries or tires, or than the maker of your television has to force you to watch only Fox or CBS.”

The suit calls for compensatory damages of $200 million, which are trebled according to law to $600 million, as well as for punitive damages of $600 million, and for injunctions prohibiting the alleged unlawful conduct and voiding the unlawful contract terms. More information, including a complete copy of the class action complaint, is available on the lawsuit’s website,

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Wow, hope this lawsuit brings some changes about.  Certainly Microsoft would never get away with locking a windows mobile OS phone this tightly.  It’s a wonder Apple thought they could do this to their loyal customer base…

Posted by ___redruM on October 11, 2007 at 3:04 PM (CDT)


Another lawsuit???


Here a suggestion…dont buy an iphone.

Posted by unreal on October 11, 2007 at 3:17 PM (CDT)


Its because they make the hardware that apple is able to do this.  Both together make it its own device.
If they made only software it would be a different story.

Posted by donald on October 11, 2007 at 3:17 PM (CDT)


Microsoft has gotten away with locking down EVERYTHING for years. So much so that other innovative companies have been put out of business because of it. That’s why the courts had to step in.
But the iPhone is only one of many out there. Don’t like AT&T? Buy a Nokia and go with Vorizon or another provider. Capitalism means innovation not sameness for all. In their bid for “fairness” the French may not even GET the iPhone.
The iPhone is a wonderful product and is currently only available from AT&T. Don’t like that? Don’t buy it. And certainly don’t lawyer up and try to force sameness on the rest of us…

Posted by RNB on October 11, 2007 at 3:23 PM (CDT)


christ, I hope they win

Posted by Bradley on October 11, 2007 at 3:31 PM (CDT)


Jesus, what a crock. And I say that having some knowledge of class actions, being an attorney myself.

This suit does not have merit. For years cell phone providers have reserved certain product lines to themselves and there has been nary a gripe about that. Tying a particular physical product to a particular service does not inherently limit someone’s ability to freely choose a cell phone or a service provider.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on October 11, 2007 at 3:31 PM (CDT)


Although I’m not a fan of the iPhone’s coupling with AT&T, I don’t know if I’d characterize the product or Apple’s partnership as monopolistic. That sounds rather extreme to me.

With the money these folks are spending on lawsuits, wouldn’t it just be easier to either buy an iPhone and hack it if they don’t want AT&T service?

Posted by cxc273 on October 11, 2007 at 3:42 PM (CDT)


Why is the iPhone being locked to AT&T so wrong?  Verizon has all kinds of exclusive phones on their network and I don’t hear people screaming anything about that.  So what’s the problem here?  I think everyone needs to just get a life.  Don’t like AT&T?  Well then you can’t have the iPhone, it’s as simple as that!  Anyone who sues over this should be thrown in Jail.

Posted by MatrixSJD on October 11, 2007 at 3:48 PM (CDT)


Basically this lawsuit says Apple & AT&T are limiting choice and should be penalized.

Wake up people… you can still buy another device and/or choose any carrier you want. Both Apple and AT&T were very clear upfront and this lawsuit and others like it are ludicrous.

Posted by Bill on October 11, 2007 at 3:57 PM (CDT)


Surely it’s Apple’s right to sell it’s product where it chooses and with conditions of sale of it’s choosing?  They made it, they spent the money creating it and those have a right to decide who they sell it to and how.

If you don’t like the software/hardware/wireless agreement demanded to purchase this product from the supplier, then don’t buy it.

Wouldn’t Apple be able to counter sue those who have broken those conditions of sale and hacked their product?  Isn’t there an software agreement and/or memorandum of understanding when the contract is signed?  If anyone has broken the rules surely it’s those who did so?

Posted by markrich on October 11, 2007 at 4:02 PM (CDT)


Apple and AT&T need to countersue Paul Holman and Lucy Rivello for wasting their time and money with this lawsuit.  Holman and Rivello then should be forced to pay all court costs, plus Apple/AT&T’s legal fees.

There is no such thing as a right to use a particular product in any way you choose, particularly when it comes to communications. 

The fact is, Ford has every right to force its buyers to use only Ford batteries and parts.  RCA has every right to make a TV that only picks up CBS.  But they don’t do this with their products because if they did, THE PRODUCTS WOULD NOT SELL.  It’s not “fair trade,” it’s called common sense on the part of the seller.

One would think that the iPhone’s exclusive ties to AT&T would harm its sales.  But there are tons of Apple fanboys and girls out there who will buy it anyway, then stomp their feet, b**ch, moan, whine, and throw themselves on the floor when Apple says “Your purchase is a contract whereby you agree to use AT&T.”

Sorry, kids, but no one’s rights have been violated.  Only your feelings have been hurt, and that doesn’t really merit a lawsuit.  Here’s hoping it gets thrown out AS IT SHOULD.

Posted by Pete on October 11, 2007 at 4:16 PM (CDT)


I can see how people would be cheesed off that a fantastic new phone would be limited to one phone network but Apple are restricting their own sales….it’s up to them.

Why doesn’t some big shot lawyer sue Apple for $1 billion because it’s only got 8GB of capacity? It’s blatently and wilfully restricting me to only carrying 8GB of stuff. And whislt we are at it….I demand Folkenflik & McGerity sue Apple for $5 billion for maliciously equipping the iPhone with a 2 megapixel camera….loads of other phones have 5MP cameras and this restricts my right as a human being to take 5MP pictures.

Ford might not restrict you to buying Ford batteries and tyres but in this country they restrict the places you can service your car during the warranty period to Ford dealerships even though the local Toyota dealership is just as competent in changing oil and checking the brakes.

Posted by Rob on October 11, 2007 at 4:43 PM (CDT)


Apple will win this because of one simple fact: Customers agree to Apple’s terms when they buy an iPhone. Apple’s terms are that you cannot unlock or have 3rd party apps.

Posted by Bill on October 11, 2007 at 4:49 PM (CDT)


Once again, Apple is being singled out for practices that EVERYONE does.

Some BlackBerry devices are available ONLY with certain carriers. No one is suing them.

Lots of phone are ONLY available on specific carriers. Not a peep.

However, the purposeful bricking of hacked iPhones I don’t agree with.  At least with iPod hacks before, a restore just rendered them factory fresh and old hacks didn’t work, but didn’t brick them.

Posted by will_bc on October 11, 2007 at 4:50 PM (CDT)


@ Rob…one of the best comments on this site.

Posted by Mike on October 11, 2007 at 4:55 PM (CDT)


I hope this goes throught and make some needed changes in the computer(h/s) and telecom industries.

Posted by Marc on October 11, 2007 at 5:17 PM (CDT)


>>However, the purposeful bricking of hacked iPhones I don’t agree with.  At least with iPod hacks before, a restore just rendered them factory fresh and old hacks didn’t work, but didn’t brick them.

I don’t think it was deliberate.  I can’t see Apple getting around a table, rubbing their hands together and saying, “Let’s get all those nasty people who broke and hacked our software by killing their phones”.  Practicality is they can only test updates with off the shelf product unalterted by hackers.  To their credit they did warn people it might happen.  They didn’t have it, after all the hackers knew this ‘could’ happen the same way PC gamers know an official update could kill all their third party hacks.  If it ain’t in the original code and spec then you stand to loose it when it is updated properly.

Posted by markrich on October 11, 2007 at 5:18 PM (CDT)


I bought a Ford Festiva, but I want to replace the engine with a Ferarri 6 liter V12.  The motor mounts don’t line up at all, and the dealer says they won’t work on my car any more, if I make this modification.  I’m getting a lawyer!

Posted by ipodder06 on October 11, 2007 at 5:53 PM (CDT)


I want to be able to post to this site offline but ilounge are unfairly restricting me to using the internet.

Posted by Chris Matchett on October 11, 2007 at 7:02 PM (CDT)


>>However, the purposeful bricking of hacked iPhones I don’t agree with.  At least with iPod hacks before, a restore just rendered them factory fresh and old hacks didn’t work, but didn’t brick them.

There was nothing deliberate about the bricking of the iPhone after a software update, and in fact bugs in the update seemed to render just as many unmodified iPhones useless as it did with modified ones.

The only certainty was that updating an iPhone that had been unlocked with the iUnlock/AnySIM solution would almost certainly render the phone part of the device unusable with any SIM card, even the original AT&T one.

However, this was NOT Apple’s doing…  They were not incorrect when they said that iUnlock modified the iPhone is an unsupported manner…  Specifically, the iUnlock solution (and AnySIM by extension, which is just a GUI for iUnlock), unlocks the iPhone by writing in a patched firmware to the chipset which allows the unlock to be performed with a dummy code.  This results in invalid data being written into the “seczone” (a part of the EPROM where unlock information and other security information is stored), which is unrecognizable by the “stock” firmware.

In short, restoring your iPhone to v1.0.2 would brick it in much the same way, although this was recoverable simply by re-performing the iUnlock process (putting the patched firmware back in place).

While Apple could have worked around this, it’s certainly not their responsibility (nor good business sense) to expend time and effort on working out a solution for a problem that never should have occurred in the first place.  Instead, they chose to simply hand out a standard software update.  If you’ve done something to your iPhone that causes this update to not work, then it’s not really their problem.

On top of all of this, they provided more than fair warning that this was the case, basically saying, “Look, you may have damaged your iPhone by doing this, and that’s not our problem, but we’re letting you know right now that updating is probably a bad idea.”

If they wanted to brick unlocked iPhones, they would have targeted ALL of the unlock solutions, but there are those out there that are unaffected by the v1.1.1 update.

Posted by Jesse Hollington on October 11, 2007 at 7:39 PM (CDT)

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