updated 06:45 pm EDT, Fri July 9, 2010
Plaintiffs focus on exclusivity agreement
A lawsuit targeting AT&T and Apple over the iPhone exclusivity agreement has been granted class-action status by Judge James Ware of the US District Court in the Northern District of California. The plaintiffs now represent all individuals who have purchased an iPhone tied to an AT&T contract in the US.
Attorneys accuse both companies of effectively creating a monopoly through exclusive distribution of the iPhone from one carrier for an indefinite time period, despite telling customers they are free to switch to another carrier at any time. Although customers sign up for a two-year contract, they are forced to stay with AT&T for much longer if they want to continue to use their iPhone, the attorneys argue.
Apple's legal team claimed that there was "widespread disclosure" of a five-year exclusivity agreement and "no suggestion" that the devices would become unlocked after two years. The lawyers point to a newspaper article as the disclosure, however Apple and AT&T have yet to officially confirm any details of their exclusivity agreement.
The class-action filing will be open for any customers who purchased an iPhone with an AT&T contract between June 29, 2007 and July 26, 2010. [via Wired]