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Apple, AT&T faces class action suit for monopoly-abuse of mobile phone market following iPhone launch

A federal judge has certified a class action accusing Apple and AT & T of monopolizing the aftermarket for iPhone voice and data services, but dismissed some of the plaintiffs’ allegations that a software update ruined consumer-modified iPhones.

“An amended complaint filed in June 2008 takes issue with Apple’s practice of “locking” iPhones so that they can only be used on AT & T’s network, and Apple’s absolute control over what apps iPhone owners can and can’t install on the gadgets. The lawsuit also says Apple secretly made AT & T its exclusive iPhone partner in U.S. for five years.

Consumers agreed to two-year contracts with Dallas-based wireless carrier when they purchased their phones, but were in effect locked into a five-year relationship with AT & T, the lawsuit alleges. The actions hurt competition and drove up prices for consumers, the lawsuit claims.”

Apple and AT & T haven’t commented on the terms of their deal. In its response to the complaint, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said it didn’t hurt competition.


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