Apple Sued for Locking iPhone to AT&T – Report

Apple are being sued by two men, Zach Ward and Thomas Buchar, for having their phones locked to the AT&T network.

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Ward and Buchar are seeking compensation as well as an order that would force Apple to remove the carrier ties it places on its iPhones. They also want Apple to start unlocking phones when/if their customers want.

CNET have said this :

The plaintiffs claim that Apple violated the Sherman Act’s prohibition on monopolization by not obtaining consumers’ contractual consent to have their iPhones locked when the tech giant entered into a five-year exclusivity agreement with the wireless carrier in 2007.

To enforce the terms of its agreement, Apple installed software locks on the iPhone that prevented buyers from taking their devices to a competing wireless carrier, the lawsuit claims. That activity violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which includes an exception that allows handset owners to modify their phones for use on the wireless network of their choice, the plaintiffs said.

This unusual event must have taken Apple by surprise considering will have most of their focus on the iPad mini launch and the huge court cases they are tied up with Samsung. Whether Ward and Buchar are trying to take advantage of Apple’s current situation or whether they genuinely feel that they the company is unfairly limiting consumer choice will remain to be seen as the case plays out.

In 2011 a Supreme Court ruled that consumers do not have the right to sue wireless carriers as a clause in their contracts “met the basic standards of fairness“, which would explain why this case is being brought to Apple’s door rather than the carrier’s. You can read the court syllabus here .

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What are your thoughts on this ? Should Apple allow unlocked iPhone’s to be bought and traded within the US ? Leave your comments below .

Also Read : How to Unlock AT&T Locked iPhone