Apple Sued Over Antitrust; Plaintiffs Want AT&T iPhones Unlocked

Two iPhone owners filed a putative class action against Apple, accusing the tech giant of violating antitrust laws as iPhone is locked to AT&T in making calls and utilizing wireless data.

Zach Ward and Thomas Buchar claim that Apple committed a violation of the Sherman Act, which prohibits monopolization, as it did not obtain contractual consent from its customers to have their iPhones locked when Apple forged an exclusivity agreement with AT&T in 2007.

The agreement was enforced with Apple installing software locks on iPhones that barred buyers from taking their iPhones to a competing wireless carrier. In doing so, the plaintiffs claim that Apple violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows smartphone owners to modify their phones for use on the wireless network of choice.

Apart from monetary damages, the lawsuit is seeking an order that would bar Apple from keeping their iPhones locked, demanding the company to provide SIM unlock codes to owners on request. In addition, the plaintiffs also wants to prevent Apple from selling iPhones without disclosing about the software locks and obtaining buyer’s contractual consent for such arrangement.

Source: Ward et al vs Apple Inc., via CNET

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