Add another mark to the umpteen-millionth number of class-action lawsuits filed against Apple and AT&T over the iPhone. Maybe its because I read Digg a lot, but the time line seems to have gone approximately as follows:
- circa 1990-2006: Industry analysts predict that Apple will release a cellphone
- early 2007: Apple confirms iPhone at Keynote speech
- June 2007-July 2007: People fanatically express how awesome this phone is.
- July 2007-present: People all realized that the phone is LOCKED, and sue?!
We live in a capitalist economy. That means that the power is with the consumers to choose what products and ideas sell, and what products flop. Pretend you are interested in buying a cellphone that has features x,y, and z. There are hundreds of phones that you could purchase that do x, y, and z out of the box. The iPhone does feature x, but if you void the warranty by illegally modifying the firmware, and risk bricking your phone in the process, it also does y and z.
Why would you purchase the iPhone, knowing that it is locked, and knowing the AT&T isn’t providing the unlock codes? Why would you support a company like Apple that is giving its customers the “our way or the highway” shoulder? This policy echoes a lot of Microsoft’s mentality. If Microsoft offered this phone, with the exact same conditions as Apple, it would have gone the way of the Zune (also with stupid pro-corporation/anti-consumer policies).
I think that if you bought a phone knowing that it is locked, you don’t get to sue the company for providing you with a locked phone. Thats like paying for an operating system that you know is closed source, and then suing because the company won’t release the source. The conditions of the iPhone were on the table for the customer to see when the purchase was made. I hope that the courts side with AT&T and Apple, and its customers feel alienated as a result. If the iPhone fails because of its unpopular locked down policies, then it encourages the market to move away from this kind of crap.
I suppose either way, the consumer wins. The question is will it be long term or short term?