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Cellphones Government The Courts News

German Court Rules iPhone Locking Legal 146

Posted by kdawson
from the help-pay-for-the-patent-settlement dept.
l-ascorbic writes "A German court has overturned Vodafone's temporary injunction against T-Mobile. Two weeks ago, the British mobile network won an injunction forcing T-Mobile to sell iPhones that were not locked to its network. Vodafone argued that locking is an anti-competitive practice, and sought to force the German network to permanently allow the use of the phones on other networks. After the injunction was granted, T-Mobile offered the unlocked phones for €999 ($1473), and these will now be withdrawn from sale."
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German Court Rules iPhone Locking Legal

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  • Oh please... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by JBMcB (73720) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:31AM (#21581915)
    "Apple still faces two lawsuits in the US from people alleging that preventing users unlocking their iPhones is an unreasonable restriction of consumer choice."

    I'm sorry, but it's a friggin' cell phone. If you don't like the terms of service then don't buy one. I don't like AT&T so I'm not getting one.

    Verizon, on the other hand, is opening up their network and embracing Android, which will hopefully start up the unlocked cell phone market in earnest. Shrewd move on Verizon's part, this will turn up the heat on the exclusivity contract between Apple and AT&T.

    I don't use either service, so I don't particularly care :)
  • Re:Oh please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timmarhy (659436) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @01:50AM (#21582007)
    The "if you don't like it don't buy one" logic only works to an extent, every single time a vendor locks a phone it squeezes the market place a little more. The bottom line is I should be able to do what i want with something i pay for, and apple can fuck off and die if they think their control should extend past the sale (or any vendor for that matter)
  • by Radres (776901) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @02:00AM (#21582057)
    Whoa, whoa, whoa... last time I checked, iPhone was still locked to Cingular here in the United States. Yes, you can go through all the trouble of unlocking your phone, which the average person cannot be bothered with. The point of this story is that the idea of locking phones to plans in Europe is immediately recognized as something wrong by the courts, and here in the United States it is accepted as a common business practice. Why is Europe always so far ahead of us in this regard?
  • Re:Oh please... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @02:08AM (#21582097) Journal
    If I had mod points, I'd use 'em. But I don't, so I'll just voice my agreement instead:

    If it's my stuff (ie, not leased, or rented, or otherwise owned by another party), then I'll be doing whatever the fuck I please with it, as long as it is legal, and nobody can stop me.

    The free market works in a lot of different ways. The same ideology that states "if you don't like the Terms of Service, don't buy it" also states "if Apple doesn't want people fucking with the hardware they sell, then they should stop selling it to people."

  • Okay I'll bite... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Critical_ (25211) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @02:29AM (#21582205) Homepage
    You're actually quite wrong here. I am an American who lived in the UK for more than a year. Mobile phones from the big companies are locked in many cases and its not seen as wrong. A trip down to any High Street will yield a few cell phone unlocking shops.

    The more expensive handsets, such as my Nokia E61 or my housemate's Nokia N95, were unlocked. Why? Vodafone's contracts are written differently than any US carriers. When I sign up for a cell phone I agree to pay a lump-sum amount of cash in 12, 18, or 24 monthly payments depending on the length of the contract. Incentives increase with the length of the contract. If I cancel the contract at any time, then I must pay the remainder of the sum and forfeit the monthly payment schedule. In this way, Vodafone is already promised a certain amount of cash in exchange for the handset. They don't care if you leave at that point since they've already made the money.

    I really find it disturbing that Slashdot heralds Europe as some panacea in the cell world. It's really not as bright and wonderful as you people try to make it out to be. Ultimately these corporate entities are out to make money within a certain set of rules. Cell phone locking, unfortunately, is a fact of life in the UK. When it isn't, its because of the way the contract is written.
  • What's wrong!? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GodOfCode (878337) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @02:38AM (#21582257)
    I think one cannot really stop Apple(or any other company for that matter) from producing a phone, tying up with a cellular operator and selling it to consumers subject to a specific set of conditions. If the consumers don't like it, they are free not to buy it. I am sure most people can survive without iPhones. :-)

    If most of the customers don't buy it (and they can choose not too, since markets are, for the most part, democratic), the product will be forced to disappear or change according to the needs of the market.

    So stop whining! If you don't like the terms relating to the product, just don't buy it! It's as simple as that.

  • Re:Oh please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by adolf (21054) <flodadolf@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @03:33AM (#21582467) Journal
    You are an idiot, AC. And while I doubt that you'll ever read this, I believe that there are many other mistaken individuals out there who will.

    If I sell you something, you're free to do with it as you wish. Whether or not it is discounted (or even sold at a loss) is not a factor in your future use of that item. You own it. It is yours.

    For example, there is a grocery store around the corner from my house which has been there since long before I was born. They discount their milk to such an extent that it is sold at a loss, in the hope that they'll recover some of that loss through additional (or future) purchases.

    This is really a fairly common practice in retail, at all levels. [wikipedia.org]

    Your mentality suggests that it would be OK for the grocer to dictate how one might use that gallon of milk, just because they sold it at a loss, or to punish someone for not buying more profitable items along with it. Both of which would be totally and obviously absurd.

    But it is no less absurd when it is electronics instead of dairy goods. They're still just goods being transacted with money.

    Your mentality is unhealthy. It defies logic, and goes against thousands of years of property ownership.

  • by houghi (78078) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @03:44AM (#21582507)
    The problem is that some people in the USofA see Europe as one country [break.com]. Well, it isn't. Each country has its own laws and political situation.
    E.g. In Belgium you can not sell a contract as part of a phone deal. Also the phone can never be locked. You can sell them at the same time, but you can not sell them as part of one contract.

    I believe it is the same in Portugal. In other countries the situation is different. The fun part is that because much of Europe is one economic entity, you can easily buy a phone in another country unlocked and no contract and use it where you live.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @03:59AM (#21582561)

    Sure the BBC has it's own biases, show me a truly neutral person.
    But at least the BBC can't be bought by corporate greed.

    But it can (and is) "bought out" by government interests. I think the founding fathers of the US would agree that that is far more dangerous.

  • by Carewolf (581105) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @04:07AM (#21582599) Homepage
    Only in theory. If that happened, it would be a political scandal and BBC would cover it happening. Several governments have tried pressuring the BBC, but all they have gotten so far is bad press.
  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Wednesday December 05, 2007 @08:37AM (#21583769)
    "Cellphone contract changed its terms" - Go elsewhere
    "But my cellphone is locked" - Buy another phone
    "But my music doesn't play on other phones" - Buy music somewhere else
    "But my internet connection throttles other music stores' bandwidth" - Get another internet connection
    "But all the ISPs do it" - Start your own

    See the problem now? ONE of these restrictions is not a problem because you can "take your business elsewhere" , but when you have this bullshit EVERYWHERE then there's nothing you can do. Now before people start mentioning we have unlocked phones. Yes, we have them TODAY , and laws against this bullshit is sensible to ensure we have them in the future. Now if you think the magical "free market" will save the day then you are mistaken on two counts:

    a) That we have a free market.
    b) That if we had a free market, it would remain free without anybody stopping companies from doing bullshit like this.

If money can't buy happiness, I guess you'll just have to rent it.

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