back to article Angry iPhone users bring antitrust class action against Apple

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. 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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Irongut Silver badge

    "including the intriguingly named Mr "Hayter""

    Are the other plaintiffs Messers Troll, Fanboi and Anonymous?

    1. LarsG


      however I don't think I need to, while sitting in my living room gently typing away, with a smug smile of self-satisfaction on my face.

      The worms are finally turning on themselves.

    2. zen1


      I can't vote more thumbs up. Genius. Pure genius!

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Can I donate to a good cause?

    I've never bought a simple apple product due to their locked in Eco System and general anticompetitive behaviour.

    However I do like their hardware which sadly seems to remain untouchable and their software UI's.

    I'm currently developing an android app....

    1. Rich 30

      I use a MacBook Pro, can you tell me how it is any more "locked in" than another laptop?

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        If you want to change the battery, you will find it "locked in"? :)

        (That said, am quite happy with my MBP)

        1. Dana W

          Never heard of a screwdriver ?

          I can change the battery in my MBP in five minutes with a couple of screwdrivers. If you don't know how to use a screwdriver you MAY be in the wrong forum.

          The PC laptop people are starting to do it with their batteries now as well. Better be sure to start screaming about "locked down" pcs too.

          The Mac is not locked down. The iPad, and iPhone, yes. And for fools who will run anything, And there are a lot of them" that's probably a good idea.

          1. Mike Flugennock

            Never heard of a...?

            "I can change the battery in my MBP in five minutes with a couple of screwdrivers. If you don't know how to use a screwdriver you MAY be in the wrong forum..."

            I prefer to hold off on the screwdrivers until _after_ changing out my iBook battery, as I'd hate to sloppily commit any warranty-voiding blunders while under the influence.

            After a succesful battery change-out, though, a couple of celebratory drinks are certainly indicated -- and I sure as hell know how to "use" a screwdriver, if you know what I mean.

      2. The Original Ash

        You're "locked in" to buying overpriced hardware if you wish to use OS X, despite the reasons for that being purely vendor lock-in and not technical in nature as Pystar demonstrated. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, necessarily; They can do whatever they want with their goods. Caveat emptor, and all that. It's just an example of how you're locked in.

        Macbook Pro 13" 2.4GHz Dual Core i5 4GB DDR3 500GB 5400rpm HDD Intel HD3000 Graphics: £999 (Apple Store)

        Dell Inspiron 14z, identical spec (14" screen): £579 (Dell online store)

        That should make OS X Lion cost £320. Last time I checked (around 30 seconds ago) it cost £20.99 on the iTunes store.

        I'll hit myself with a Troll icon so you guys can feel justified in modding me to oblivion :)

        1. Dana W

          No thanks.

          @The Original Ash

          One is made out of Plastic, the other one is made out of aluminum. inside and out. When I buy a MBP I'm paying for solid build quality and keys that don't fall off.

          Dell laptops are the REASON I buy Macbook Pros now.

          1. Blank Reg Silver badge

            Apples and Oranges

            Comparing an entry level laptop to a business level laptop is silly, of course the entry level laptop is cheaply made by comparison. Go compare with other business level laptops and it's not hard to find better speced and better built laptops than the macbook pro.

            1. Dana W

              I wasn't referring to "entry level" machines. The last two Dells I bought were nearly $2000.

              I still have people I support, I've had to shop around. he build quality of most PC laptops is pathetic. And by the time the build quality is anywhere near matching, the machine is usually as much as, or more than a comparable Mac.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I believe I said Eco System, not MacBook Pro.

        The latest Macbook pro is a VERY nice machine.

        That said I'm sure it's a matter of time before the latest Macbooks are also locked into the "App $tore" and the apple money pyramid system.

        They will probably then charge me if I want to write software for you, or make it available to you.

        If my software does something that they decide should be for them to do and not me then they will probably scrap my software at my cost.

        Apple are probably also working on a patent on the rubber matt that you use to put your coffee mug on next to your macbook and next year your car won't probably start without your IPod.

        Some years ago they talked about splitting Microsoft in to Hardware and Software or similar... it never happened in part because it was too little too late. I believe Apple has reached an even bigger size and level of domination where benefits could be seen from doing the same IMO. However Apple is probably to much of a fashion accessory for anything like this to ever happen.

        1. Rafael 1

          "Apple will probably''...

          Do we have a tinfoil hat icon?

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re:Radael 1

            If you were here for quality fact based peer reviewed discussion backed up with references I apologise.

            My initial post had a pint next to it. It probably is the best beer in the world.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That would require them to be a monopoly

          The proposed remedy in the microsoft monopoly case was breaking the company up, as you note.

          APPL is not a monopoly in ANY market, not even f*ing close.

          Therefore, the idea that this sort of remedy be applied, is pointedly stupid.


      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        That's lovely to know, but I thought the article was relating to iPhones ?

  3. Chad H.


    Look, normally I'm against Sony and MS trying to block class actions - but crap like this case almost convinces me they're right.

    Waaaaah, I got exactly what it said on the box - I want my money back and compensation.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Apple should have had an anti-classaction lawsuit clause in their T&C

    I'm sure they soon will. You can thank American's sue-happy culture for that.

  5. Beelzebub's Granny

    I call BS

    Why should Apple provide free use of their servers, free bandwidth, free hosting, free marketing, free update mechanisms etc. to people who choose not to pay the annual development fee? The 30% developers give to Apple covers those costs. Apple aren't a charity, and I don't see why "Waaaaaah! I want to download some apps from somewhere else, which is entirely possible, but I want to do it while using iTunes, but not iTunes, if you get me, and I don't want to use Apple", has any legal basis.

    I can't get an Android app onto my phone using my toaster. Should I complain to Tefal?

    1. Jedit

      If the 30% covers Apple's costs...

      ... why do they also charge an annual development fee?

      1. toadwarrior

        The reason apple want the annual fee is because providing real developer support is not cheap. With android if you need help you get stackoverflow. With iOS you get to speak to a real person. Google just realise they are totally shit at providing support and don't have a reason to charge an annual fee.

    2. sisk

      30% plus the fee to get the SDK and development license do far, far more than cover hosting costs. They'd be making a pretty decent profit at 10%. 30% is far more than any other mobile app store takes. For that matter, it's far above the industry standard for any software publishing service, even those that have the far greater expenses associated with selling physical media.

      As for your Android app and toaster comment, I think you've missed the point. They want to be able to install third party apps and unlock their phones for use with other carriers without voiding their warranty. Is that really so unreasonable?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @sisk: "30% is far more than any other mobile app store takes. For that matter, it's far above the industry standard for any software publishing service, even those that have the far greater expenses associated with selling physical media."

        30% is a bargain. I'm having to pay a 40-60% margin to other companies who act as resellers for our software. They do a lot less than Apple too...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Your point being?

          'I'm having to pay a 40-60% margin to other companies who act as resellers for our software'

          Maybe you're just bad at negotiation or your software is that bad you need that level of payment just so they will sell it for you. I've never had to give away more than 15-20%

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what ?

    4. danny_0x98

      Not a lawyer, but first guess, basic contract law, offer, acceptance, and consideration (payment.)

      Violation of the terms, sneaking in a back door for instance or doing something to undercut their or their partners' business, is breach of contract and Apple has latitude to act.

      I know, quelle draconian, but there were other choices that AT&T offered and a lot of people who would otherwise have been interested voted to go with Verizon because the network is better. People jailbreak their phones. As far as monopolies go, it's remarkably porous.

  6. Richard Wharram


    You can't get an unlocked iPhone in the US?

    For once (in consumer terms) I'm glad to be a Brit. Locked phones are Satan's tagnuts :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You can get unlocked ones at an Apple Store

    2. Davidoff

      "You can't get an unlocked iPhone in the US?"

      You can now (the iPhone 4S is also sold unlocked via the Apple Store), but that's a first for the US.

      "For once (in consumer terms) I'm glad to be a Brit. Locked phones are Satan's tagnuts"

      It's not just the lack of availability of unlocked phones. Just have a look at the whole US mobile industry. Ths US is a huge country but thanks to the complete deregulation (free market and such) with an oligopol of only four network providers that only compete on setting new lows in customer service. And unlike in good old Europe in the US you're usually charged when someone calls you unless you opt for a more expensive price plan. PAYG is still uncommon, and the few available price plans are quite expensive.

  7. Pseu Donyme

    Bundling the device and the contract when devices and networks are in fact designed to interoperate is evil. Also bad for competition (avoiding which seems to be a fundamental business principle, while the right for business to exist is predicated on the same).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      and in the UK you can have any service provider too!

      1. Local Group

        Britianna Rulz

        da radio waves

  8. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Good Luck trying to use an AT&T iPhone on any CDMA Network


    The people who filed suit should be going after the FCC etc. Unlike the rest of the world, the US has two different technologies. GSM and CDMA.

    CDMA phones don't (AFAIK) work on GSM networks and vice-versa.

    Ironically, Apple by going with AT&T gave the iPhone users the ability to use their phones in other parts of the world.

    The nmumber of 'merikans who flail around Heathrow trying to get a CDMA network after their flight is a sight to be seen. Pure entertainment.

    What price that?

    I don't expect this case to succeed. Apple did a deal with whichever carrier would agree to their terms. Remember apple were a totally new entrant to the device market. AT&T signed up and many of the plans offered were better than Sprint etc. I can't figure out how that was uncompetitive.

    Fail. Simply for the ambulance chasing that goes on in every facet of the US Legal System.

    About time they went to a Loser pays system but that would be deemed unconstitutional.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a Brit in the US

      Just discovering this problem myself. Have an unlocked Android phone but most networks here don't offer sim cards; the ones that do - mostly international minutes + text offers - don't give you any data. I managed to get a sim ordering online from AT&T but would not have been my preferred choice.

      Comparing phone networks in the US feels like a trip back to the 90's. There's hardly any competition and plenty of lock-in with little flexibility.

      I can't understand why American Telco operators would want to limit their customer base and pass on all those lovely international roaming fees. Conversely, coming back to the UK I forgot my UK contract sim. I was able to walk in to somewhere like O2 off the high street, purchase a sim for $10 with data and throw it away at the end of my trip.

  9. Tom Cooke

    Angry iPhone users

    Thought it was going to be a new game - like Angry Birds...

  10. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Only 4? that's hardly a class action.

    1. Local Group

      Class action or Apple smasher?

      >>"Another case (PDF) against both Apple and AT&T for the same antitrust violations, but brought by different plaintiffs, was already filed in 2008 and is currently moving through the courts.". <<

      When these 2 suits combine into one jumbo super colllider and Apple are a tiny particle therein, make sure you got plenty of pop corn. :o)

  11. Can't think of anything witty...

    I think you miss the point...

    I've not looked into this in detail, but it looks to me like they (may) have a case. If you buy a phone and it is exclusive to a network at that time, then yes, you know what you are getting into. i think that the problem comes at the end of the (2) year contract.

    You would assume that at that point you would own the phone and be able to put any sim in it you like as long as you pay the bill. They appear to be arguing that because apple only sell iPhones to one network for a 5 year period and the network won't release them, then they are locked in for a 5 year period with that network... because they cannot use the phone on any other network. Yes, they have the option to buy another phone on another network, but that isn't really the point is it?

    If that is their argument, then i can see why they are annoyed..

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One wonders

    why the fsck they bought iPhones. Next time buy an Android phone that can be easily rooted and has CyanogenMod available. Then you can do whatever you like with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Non-existence maybe?

      Heading says it all.

  13. Gil Grissum
    Thumb Down


    Simple solution. if these people don't like some things about how Apple does business, don't use the product. Buy something else from a different vendor. There are plenty of choices in Phones, Tablets, and Computers besides Apple. Why do go the idiot route of making lawyers rich? For what? So you can be the butt of their jokes at the country club while they live lavishly on the attorney's fees paid for another pointless lawsuit? FAIL.

  14. cjp39

    Stifled competition?

    Ignoring Android, which came later, Apple has had the largest growth in applications in phone history by a long way. So exactly how has competition been stifled?

    This case should be thrown out in a heartbeat. And, were there any justice, the people who raised it would then be imprisoned for wasting court time.

  15. John A Blackley

    the only thing

    unclear here is the definition of 'clearly annouce'.

    I'm marketing a new phone. You can only develop apps for it if you pay me a trillion dollars annual support and ninety percent of your revenue from selling it. You can only use my phone on my network (okay, it'll only be you and me but it's still a network) and if you JB the phone to use on another network you'll have voided the warranty.

    So far I haven't broken a single law except, perhaps, the law against stupidity and no American court will rule on that one.

  16. Tim 11

    How to survive in the real world

    1. When doing business with someone, make sure there is some kind of implied or explicit contract;

    2. if the terms of the contract are not acceptable to you, don't do business with them;

    3. if the other party fails to honour their side of the contract, sue them;

    4. if you expected the other party to deliver something that wasn't stated in the contract just to be nice to you, you are an idiot and probably shouldn't ever do business with anyone again.

    not exactly rocket science is it??

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. Routerbod

    AT&T phones will not work with other US carriers

    Unless I am mistaken, I think that the US iPhone only used AT&T's GSM bands, so unlocking would not mean that you could use on any of the other US GSM carriers (eg T-Mobile).

    CDMA is completely different as well, so having your phone unlocked would be pointless unless you go overseas (and even then it might not work).

    The exclusivity deal was really a technology lock in. The exclusive deal was only Apple not creating a CDMA device, or a multiband GSM radio.

    Not that I want to stick up for AT&T and Apple, but I can't really see where the problem is.....

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020