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Class Action Antitrust Suit Against Apple Moves Forward

Apple was once the underdog, taking on the big guys like Microsoft. What a difference a decade can make as Apple now stands accused of being a monopoly.

A class action antitrust lawsuit against Apple and AT&T can go ahead, U.S. District Judge James Ware said last week. The suit against Apple is based on the fact that iPhones were “locked down” to the AT&T network. Attorneys for the class have called Apple and AT&T’s actions a monopoly abuse. iPhone owners have complained that AT&T has had massive network problems since the original iPhone went on sale in 2007. The class is also complaining about the control over applications that can be installed on the iPhone.

The lawsuit alleges that Apple and AT&T secretly agreed to exclusivity for five years, which drove up prices and hurt the competition. The case is called In Re Apple & ATTM Antitrust Litigation. The amended complaint was filed in the northern district of California. The class includes anyone who bought an iPhone with a two-year mobile contract from AT&T.

The class action lawsuit consolidates several actions filed by iPhone buyers starting in late 2007, after Apple’s original iPhone went on the market. Apple successfully moved for summary judgment on several parts of the lawsuit. However Judge Ware found that the antitrust portion of the lawsuit can move ahead.

Neither Apple nor AT&T have commented on the Judge Ware’s decision. In addition, in a separate matter, Apple has been sued for patent infringement by NTP who claims Apple has wrongfully implemented patented technology that connects cellphones to email.

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