Spat between Lyons, AT&T poses iPhone outage threat

An ongoing spat between journalist Dan Lyons—posting as his satirical alter-ego “Fake Steve Jobs”—and AT&T has the potential to cause iPhone service outages Friday afternoon. Following a profanity-filled rant (NSFW) in which Lyons compared AT&T to a record company wanting customers to purchase less copies of an album due to high demand, Lyons subsequently proposed “Operation Chokehold,” suggesting that iPhone users flood AT&T’s cellular network with traffic by turning off Wi-Fi and using their 3G connections for data-intensive activities, such as streaming video, for approximately one hour at Noon Pacific Time (3:00PM Eastern Time) on Friday.

Following the “Chokehold” post, AT&T called the scheme “irresponsible and pointless,” adding that “there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers.” Lyons’ responded, noting that the company has made over $10 billion in profit over the last nine months, and has seen wireless data revenues soar 80% over the last eight quarters, while dropping its capital expenditures by 30% over the same period. A Facebook group dedicated to “Operation Chokehold” now has over 1,750 fans, and despite a later statement from Lyons claiming that he doesn’t want to “cause any actual harm to my fellow AT&T users,” questions remain as to whether the protest will have any impact on the network on Friday.

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