Lawsuit against Apple, AT&T exclusivity wins 'class action' status

Summary:A lawsuit filed against Apple and AT&T in 2007 over their exclusivity agreement has been granted class action status by a California judge.

A lawsuit against Apple and AT&T over their exclusivity contract has been granted class action status, meaning it now includes anyone who bought an iPhone between June 29, 2007 and present day and signed up for AT&T service. (Court Filing PDF)

The heart of the class action suit - which was originally filed in October 2007 - is whether consumers who entered the two-year contract with AT&T did so knowing that they were actually entering a de-facto five-year contract because that's what the AT&T-Apple exclusivity agreement has been reported to be.

Apple has never publicly stated how long its exclusivity contract with AT&T is, though a five year time period - first reported by USA Today back in 2007 - was recently confirmed through court documents related to this case. And even though there continues to be buzz about the iPhone coming to Verizon - with Bloomberg reporting a January 2011 date - that's largely based on a belief that the original five-year deal may have been renegotiated as part of an iPad deal between AT&T and Apple.

Still, the court, in considering whether to grant the class-action status, wasn't addressing the allegation itself but rather whether it could be argued fairly on behalf of the larger group, that is, anyone who ever bought an iPhone and entered into a contract with AT&T.

In the end, it found that the suit is worthy of class action status.

(Court filing credit: Wired.com)

Topics: Apple, AT&T, Legal

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