Complaints over Apple's use restrictions and recent software update for the iPhone have led to lawsuits alleging Apple and its carrier partner, AT&T (formerly known as Cingular and SBC), engaged in illegal monopolistic behavior.
Two separate lawsuits were filed in San Jose on Oct. 5 - one in federal court and the other in state court and both seeking class-action status. Both cases accuse the companies of unfair business practices and violations of antitrust, telecommunications and warranty laws.
The federal case was filed by the firms of Hoffman & Lazear in Oakland and Folkenflik & McGerity in New York on behalf of iPhone owners Paul Holman and Lucy Rivello. The state case was filed by Saratoga attorney Damian Fernandez on behalf of California resident Timothy Smith.
The federal lawsuit alleges that by not allowing other carriers to serve the iPhone, the two companies conspired from the beginning to maintain a monopoly. Allegedly, the companies are unlawfully restricting consumer choice by preventing users from "unlocking" their iPhones, and Apple intentionally disabled unofficial third-party programs or rendered unlocked phones useless with its software update.
Apple issued the update Sept. 27 after warning users that any ensuing damage to iPhones with unauthorized modifications was not covered by the product's warranty. It is unclear how many iPhones were disabled or how many iPhone owners have modified their handsets.
The federal lawsuit stated it didn't know how large the affected class could be but pegged the number at 100 or more and anticipates "there will be millions." Apple has sold more than a million iPhones since it hit the market June 29. (info from The Associated Press)