A federal judge will allow a monopoly lawsuit filed against Apple and network carrier AT&T’s mobile phone business to proceed as a class action, according to a report from the Associated Press.
The lawsuit will consolidate a number of lawsuits filed by iPhone customers from late 2007, shortly after the release of Apple's first iPhone model, and will seek an injunction to stop Apple from selling locked iPhones that can be used on AT&T’s networks only.
In addition to Apple’s exclusivity deal with AT&T, the lawsuit looks at the company’s control over the applications that can be installed on the iPhone and that Apple has “secretly” extended an exclusivity deal with AT&T for another five years.
The lawsuit claims: “Consumers agreed to two-year contracts with the Dallas-based wireless carrier when they purchased their phones, but were in effect locked into a five-year relationship with AT&T”.
It went on to allege that the partnership between the two companies have substantially affected competition and led to higher buying prices for consumers.