Lawsuits Target iPhone Bricking

Lawsuits Target iPhone Bricking

Most cellphones locked to a particular cellular network, so that carriers can leverage consumers to use their service by subsidizing the cost of the device. For iPhones, that network is AT&T's, and the cell company pays a hefty premium for its monopoly on Apple customers. Hackers have found ways to unlock iPhones, however, as well as adding additional applications. Unlocking cell phones is specifically exempted from the DMCA's prohibition on reverse engineering, so several thousand people unlocked their iPhones. Apple's latest iPhone software update rendered unlocked phones unusable even on AT&T's network, a move referred to as 'bricking' the phones. This has understandably pissed some iPhone owners off, leading two of them to file separate class-action lawsuits against Apple and AT&T.

The first by a few days, Tim Smith, alleges California state law antitrust and unfair competition claims, saying that Apple used its monopoly power to inflate iPhone prices and refusing to provide warranty service on bricked phones.

The second alleges violations of federal antitrust law, including the Sherman Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, and the Telecommunications Act. It emphasizes Apple's statement before the 1.1.1 update that bricked unlocked phones that the unauthorized software could “cause irreparable damage to the iPhone's software, which will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed.” The complaint takes this as evidence that Apple intentionally disabled unlocked phones, and then refused warranty service on them, which the plaintiff says are unlawfully anticompetitive.

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daveyd

you're simply changing a few GUI functions in the firmware that are only enabled to a specific carrier.

Take the Motorola RAZR for example, Verizon has most of the RAZR's options tailored and enabled to their service. If you went to Sprint and picked up the same phone, you will clearly find that a plethora of options ARE turned off. Like the ability to use the GPS, or download ring tones, and video clips, etc. That's how these phone carriers monopolize the market.

There are quite a few other options the general public doesn't even know exists on the V3M. Like having an entire song play as a ring tone, not just a portion of it, or the ability to upload via USB...games, documents, spreadsheets, ring tones, music videos, your music collection, and record video clips up to a gigabyte. Use your PC's USB connection charge the RAZR, use the razr as your thumb drive, grab a 6GB microSD card while you're at it.

Would you brick your phone if you knew that you could attain those options? Most of them can be easily enabled/disabled if done carefully with no harm whatsoever.

Verizon has limited functionality, strategically tailored for you to PAY for wallpapers, video clips, and ring tones through their online service. You couldn't add them any other way, even if you had internet service at home. Essentially people were pissed off.

Would you purchase a PC from Sprint if they were the only company that enabled writing to a blank CD? BS similar to that is happening with the phone market. I have two RAZRs, one from each of the above carriers to prove it.

I learned how to enable every option without being tied to Verizon's limitation. Why must you have to pay for music that you already bought on CD, simply to have it play on your cell phone?
Is that why people are so attracted to the IPhone? Well folks, you don't need an Apple IPhone to do that.

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zitro62

I was under the impression that the 1.1.1 upgraded HAD to be installed. Apple may have forced a lot of things mentioned above, but they didn't force the upgrade.
If Iphone users don't upgrade they dont get a brick for a phone! So I'm just agreeing with previous comments - its the users responsibility to take care of their equipment.

Moral of the story --- Check compatibility before you upgrade!
(not directed to anyone here of course ;-)

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Talcum X

I do have to admit, your right. It can be placed into the book of 'common knowledge' that modifying anything voids the warranty. Anyone who does so, does at their own risk. And the update was already documented that it would 'break' your iphone if you have done so well before it was released. But, Apple did waffle on the subject in the beginning. At first they said sure, go ahead, by all means. Basically, giving the owners the companies blessing in doing so (they probably didn't care knowing that if 'we' did, that's just so many more phone they didn't have to warranty..bingo! More free money). But then they backpeddled soon after (probably got pressure from AT&T due to the contract they have) So in the end, it's the users responsibility for care of the product and that's always the risk users take when making mods. Me, well, it doesn't matter to me much since I didn't have the need to 'invest' in a phone like that. $50 for a decent cell and I have $550 left for a nice upgrade to my rig.

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gord_north

Maybe I'm missing something here. Unless a person has been living in a cave for the past few decades, they are perfectly aware that making modifcations to a product usually voids the warranty. They take their chances. I guess I question what it is that makes them feel that they can do it and then moan and groan when the 'hack' no longer works. If they broke it during the mod process they wouldn't sue the manufacturer would they? Not likely. So the company updates the product's operating software and now we are supposed to feel outraged that the product no longer works because the software update made the hacked product useless? Not bloodly likely.
No simpathy here.

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whitneymr

I don't understand why everybody who wants to go after Microsoft for anti-trust issues ignore Apple. Seems Apple makes Bill and the boys like like straight shooters in comparison.

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Talcum X

I just got done listening to the latest Podcast, and according to Gordon (and I'm sure he is right about this), Jobs can do no wrong and is God in the Apple cult...er...community. Time to take a step back, people, and smell what he's shovelin'.

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Every morning is the dawn of a new error.

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