Apple sued over i-Bricks
'Unlawful tying agreement'
Apple's breaking of iPhones that had been hacked is now the subject of a lawsuit, which claims the controversial tactic violates California laws governing antitrust and fair business practices.
The complaint (PDF), which seeks class-action status, was filed Friday in Santa Clara County Superior Court, just a short drive from Apple's Cupertino headquarters. It was filed on behalf of an iPhone buyer alleged to have been harmed when a security update issued late last month caused modified iPhones to lock up.
"On September 27, 2007, Apple punished consumers for exercising their rights to unlock their iPhones," the complaint alleges. "Apple issued a software update that "bricked" or otherwise caused iPhone malfunctions for consumers who unlocked their phones and installed the update."
It claims the restriction undermines an exemption the US Register of Copyrights made to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act that specifically allows handset owners to tweak their devices so they work on competing cellular networks. The suit also claims Apple's arrangement with AT&T is an unlawful tying arrangement as defined under California antitrust statutes.
Within hours of the iPhone's debut, hackers were hard at work finding vulnerabilities and figuring out ways to make the device work on networks other than AT&T's and run third-party programs. Both acts are forbidden by Apple. ®
I know it's just like *so* nineteenth century, but the fact is there are some rights you have, and some you don't; and there are some that people appear to be making up out of whole cloth.
Whether or not Apple are right to lock their phones or not I don't know and don't much care. But they're not under any obligation to You The Consumer to make any specific product in any specific way. They've chosen to make these phones and lock them. If you buy one, you buy it lock and all. If you then choose to attack it to try to remove or modify its design, then you have *absolutely no comeback* if either you break it in doing so; or if they (deliberately or not) push an upgrade that wouldn't have broken it if you hadn't buggered about with it.
The idea that you must automatically have some nebulous right to have everything you want on exactly the terms you want it is a relatively recent notion, the rise of which seems (although maybe I'm just being an old fart here) to correspond to some extent to the increasing rejection in our society of things like respect and responsibility.
As several sensible people have pointed out, the real answer is simple enough: if you don't like Apple's business practices then Don't Buy Apple.
Caveat emport (well in the UK anyway)
There is no legal requirement in the UK for a provider/supplier to unlock the mobile phone they sold you when your contract expires unless the T&Cs say they definitely will.
Most do.. for a fee. (I'm sure there is a good business reason why - it can't be because they're nice).
Apple get a percentage of call revenue and I'm guessing that at the end of the contract you will have no option but to continue with O2 if you want to make calls.. Apple will most probably have that in the O2 contract.
In markets where they can legally keep the phone tied to a network after contract expiry, they will. If it means bricking phones that have left the fold, they will.
As a few people have stated.. you haven't got to buy an iPhone.
I think, regrettably, this is one battle that Apple will win.
Why sue them?
Why are Apple being sued at all?
It's my understanding that damaging other people's property is a CRIMINAL offence, not a civil one. Why not just call the police?
If there's one thing these comments prove
it's that the IT industry is just as full of idiots as any other industry.
The anti-Apple brigade are pretty funny. The amount of venom they spew over a computer brand says a lot about the richness of their lives.
For the record, I have owned a PowerBook, MacBook Pro, three iPods, and an iPhone, and I have never had any significant problems with any of these products. Never had to re-install the operating system, never had to deal with spyware or adware, never had to deal with wacky Linux driver issues to get my mouse working.
The people who call these products "overpriced", compared to what? Calculating the number of hours over the years I've wasted dealing with Windows' various problems and Linux's idiosyncracies, switching to OSX has paid for itself many times over.
Closing the Mac
I wonder if this is a tryout for making the next generation of Macs a closed system (like the XBox, requiring all software and hardware/drivers to be tested, approved and signed by Apple).
It would certainly ensure reliability - and I wonder how many customers would care provided they could still get their chosen apps.