RSS
Is the iPhone a 'monopoly'?
A judge has OKed a class-action lawsuit against Apple and AT&T on behalf of everyone who's ever bought an iPhone. Should Steve Jobs be worried?
The iPhone 4.
The iPhone 4.
Corbis
A

federal judge is allowing a class-action lawsuit that accuses Apple and AT&T of creating a monopoly with their exclusive iPhone agreement to move forward. The class now includes everyone who's bought an iPhone in the U.S. and signed a two-year provider contract with AT&T. The plaintiffs claim that Apple "secretly" signed a five-year exclusivity contract with AT&T, which has effectively required any iPhone customer to remain with the wireless carrier for far longer than was stipulated in the standard two-year contract. Neither company has commented. How much merit does the case have? (Watch a report about the class-action suit)

Finally, some justice! It's about time, says Jason Perlow in ZDNet. Apple's relationship with AT&T has "screwed up the wireless industry in the United States for years." Obviously, "carriers should not be allowed to have exclusive agreements with handset makers." This unfairly limits customers' ability "to easily migrate from one carrier to another." And lawsuits like this one are what Apple gets for being a control freak with its product.
"Apple and AT&T: Time to wake up and smell the class action"

Monopoly? Not quite: I "find it surprising that this 'monopoly' lawsuit against the iPhone is gaining traction," says George Ou in Digital Society. Apple may be a major player in the smartphone arena, but Google Android devices are "starting to dominate." This shows the market "clearly knows how to deal with this particular situation" — customers who don't like "Apple's walled garden" are voting "with [their] wallets."
"How is the iPhone a 'monopoly'?"

The suit is a bit loopy — but still interesting: The basis for this lawsuit sounds a "little silly," says Nilay Patel in Engadget, since "no one's required to buy another iPhone after two years," or stick with AT&T if they don't want to "sign a new contract." So, it'll be interesting "to see if the plaintiffs can get past that little logical hurdle and win something more than a token settlement." Either way, however, the outcome "should be juicy."
"iPhone AT&T exclusivity lawsuit granted class-action certification, every AT&T iPhone customer included"

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week