Originally Posted by jragosta
Consumers do not have an absolute right to any product they wish to buy. They have a right to buy it under terms that the seller chooses to offer.
this statement is incomplete. It should be 'under the terms the seller chooses to offer, in so far as those terms do not violate any terms set by the manufacturer or local law'
So for example, if the law says sim locked phones are 100% illegal, the seller "Youtalk Wireless" can't lock the phone himself.
If a book publisher (in this case the 'manufacturer') sets a 'street date', the seller "Youread Bookstore" can't sell it before that date. Or if the publisher refuses to make an ebook, the seller can't scan the book and sell it in that form himself.
and so on.
ATT's lost lawsuit on unlocking 'dummy' phones came in part because they didn't have exclusive agreements on those devices. So they were deemed 'unnaturally' tying the phones to their network. Smart phones were left out of the judgment because it is legal to have such exclusive contracts with a manufacturer and on said phones, they existed (and not just at ATT).
Originally Posted by SockRolid
The Sherman Act of 1890, believe it or not, is still the key legal document to antitrust cases in the U.S. And, according to the Sherman Act, there is a difference between "coercive" and "innocent" monopoly. This is quoted directly from Wikipedia (with my own underlines added for emphasis):
Section 2 of the Act forbade monopoly. In Section 2 cases, the court has, again on its own initiative, drawn a distinction between coercive and innocent monopoly. The act is not meant to punish businesses that come to dominate their market passively or on their own merit
, only those that intentionally dominate the market through misconduct, which generally consists of conspiratorial conduct of the kind forbidden by Section 1 of the Sherman Act, or Section 3 of the Clayton Act."
Correct. Case law has added abusing one's monopoly in one market to gain in another as a no no (which is what got Microsoft a few years back). But dominance formed by being the best is not a crime. Again, Microsoft and Windows is a key example. In the early days, they were the most available, hooked up with OEMs etc and it just happened. Unlike Apple which wanted to use their right to not allow clones and marketed to a smaller group of people (universities, creative professionals etc)
The other side is apparently trying to argue that Apple and ATT are in effect the same since a cell phone without a carrier is rather pointless. So they are basically divisions of the same 'company' and that Apple is using it's monopoly on the hardware to unnaturally push their 'service side' (ATT) to a higher level.
But this is likely to fall apart on them due to two things
1. Apple and ATT are not the same company (unlike the Microsoft Windows/Internet Explorer thing which was a single company dipping into many ponds)
2. The widely referenced Nielsen study
published in June of this year lists the iphone as 2nd in % of the market after RIM and the collective whole of the competition is 3 to 1 over the iPhone. No way does that pass the dominance (to be abused) test
The most these folks might gain is the FCC etc looking into the question of whether exclusive contracts are in the consumer's best interest and deciding no they are not. And setting a new law that there can be no more such deals and any existing ones can not be extended past current signed contracts and the dates such deals end must be immediately published (with validating materials filed with some overseeing office) and at that end time all phones locked must be unlocked at the customers request if the carrier service contract is over or the customer pays the ETF.
But even this will be due less to the actual lawsuit and more on the press it has created.
That way, they could have attempted to leverage iPhone's success to force all carriers to favor iPhone over other smartphones.
The only way that would be true would be if, instead of unlocking the phone and putting in all the hardware and software to support everyone, Apple went to each carrier and said they would add the bits to support X only if the iphone was the only smartphone the carrier had or it was the only one on display, in ads by the company.
Otherwise, Apple isn't doing anything but making their phone an open market. Letting the consumer decide.
Originally Posted by Magic8Ball
It seems odd, but the way the present system works is you NEVER REALLY OWN THE PHONE.
The cost of an unlocked iPhone is ~$599
The price most consumers pay ~$200 The price paid for contract (2yr) ~$200
Money owed @ contract end ~$300
this information is incorrect.
The cost of a no contract (but still locked) iphone 16gb is $599 + sales tax (in several states on the full amount no matter what)
ATT's subsidy on a new contract or fully eligible upgrading contract is $400 (which is why they raised the ETF to $375 starting in June instead of losing $200 on every phone that was cut early)
According to ATT you pay back that amount over the course of your 24 month contract, which is how they justify the ETF in the first place.
So assuming you go the full 2 years or you pay the ETF, folks like this suit argue that you 'own' the phone outright and should be able to do with it as you please. Just like Psystar tried to argue that they bought the software and could put it any hardware they want and Steve Jobs could go eat his own liver (goes nice with Fava Beans and Chianti)
Meanwhile Apple and ATT will argue that by completing the sale, you agreed to the Terms and Conditions which were that the phone is locked to ATT and at no point was it even inferred that they would end this exclusive deal or that you have a right to demand unlocking (as allowed by the rules the FCC has tossed back at several complainants)
Originally Posted by anantksundaram
You are the third or fourth poster making the implicit assumption that the handset is 'subsidized' by ATT.
That is incorrect.
No YOU are the incorrect one. ATT most certainly subsidizes their phones, just like everyone else. They stated this themselves when called upon to explain why ETFs exist and why they were the amounts they were and not some token $25 or such.
Originally Posted by Andrew42
I am in discussion with AT&T over this issue. I have been an AT&T customer for nearly 23 years. In two months time I return to Europe permanently. I have asked AT&T to unlock my phone when I cancel my contract with them. So far they are claiming that their policy does not allow them to unlock the Iphone and that they don't know how to do it.
Since ATT is in no way involved in the creation of the iphone or the OS, they probably don't know how to unlock it. And the policy is likely due to the question of folks claiming they are moving overseas but they really aren't.
So I see two possibles for you to look into.
1. What would prevent you, when you get to Europe, from restoring your phone using 'local' software that while not unlocked perhaps is at least set for the carrier you would be using. And if there's nothing in the software, how do you go about gaining that local software to do it
2. What about, if #1 can't be done, simply selling the phone before you go and using the money to buy a new one when you get back to Europe. Yes you would be out a phone for a few days but it's better than nothing