Woman buys an iPhone 4. Fifteen months later the power button stops working. She calls AT&T (T). They send her to Apple (AAPL). She works her way up and down the customer service chain and gets tough love at every turn: Her warranty expired three months ago. She has two choices. Pay for repair ($149.99 plus shipping) or buy new phone.
She goes to the Internet. Finds a thread on Apple's community support site with hundreds of complaints about the same power button. It's been viewed 720,525 times. Finds YouTube video with workarounds viewed more than million times. Finds iFixit instructions for replacing the power button's faulty flex cord that includes a Step 29 rated "difficult."
Adopting the consensus view that the iPhone 4's power button problem is a known manufacturing defect, and buying into the tin-foil-hat theory that it's carefully planned obsolescence -- a part designed to go bad right after the 1-year warranty expires -- she files a class action suit under RICO (the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) for $5 million plus.
This case has resonance because we expect better of Apple. The iPhone has exactly five moving parts. Is it too much to ask that they be engineered to last the life of the device?
China started a media war with Apple to get better warranties. Apparently Debra Hilton of St. Augustine, Fla., felt she had no choice to but to start one here.
Meanwhile, Apple, what's with the customer support policy that digs its heels in on a 15-month-old iPhone with a power button gone bad? Are you trying to create unhappy customers?
PDF: Power Button Lawsuit.
Thanks to GigaOm's John Jeff Roberts for the link.
Law firm investigating claims that brokerage firms failed to protect their clients
FORTUNE -- A press release crossed the business wires Thursday that's likely to catch the eye of many a frustrated Apple (AAPL) shareholder:
"The Securities Arbitration Law Firm of Klayman & Toskes," it begins, "announced today that it is investigating claims on behalf of Apple, Inc. shareholders who sustained investment losses due to an over-concentration of shares in Apple stock."
It's MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 31, 2013 2:21 PM ET
It opened Tuesday, despite the trademark infringement suit Apple filed on Friday
[UPDATE: Sometime after 7:00 a.m. EST, the Amazon Appstore went live. Looks like Apple will have to go back to court and start specifying those unspecified damages it was seeking.]
Okay. It's Tuesday morning, and according to the New York Times, Amazon is supposed to enter the mobile app business today with a splash -- giving away a free copy MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 22, 2011 6:13 AM ET
Steven Gibson, founder of Righthaven, spoke with Fortune for our story on his work in copyright lawsuits. Below, an edited excerpt of our interview with him.
Interview by John Patrick Pullen, contributor
Fortune: In the column from May 2010 where Review-Journal writer Sherman Frederick described new arrangements with Righthaven, he called it a technology firm. How is Righthaven a technology firm?
Gibson: Sherman Frederick does not speak for us, and we did not ghostwrite MOREJan 6, 2011 12:39 PM ET
The social graph of telecom litigants just got a little more convoluted
With thanks and apologies to InformationIsBeautiful.net, whose lovely graphic we've updated to put Apple's (AAPL) countersuit against Motorola (MOT) late Friday into context.
Note, as David McCandless and James Key pointed out three weeks ago when they posted the original, that the companies whose revenues are shrinking tend to launch more lawsuits than those that are growing.
Who is suing whom
[Follow MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 31, 2010 8:18 AM ET
That HTC Android phone you bought made Microsoft a few bucks in license fees.
On the back of the news that Microsoft (MSFT) is suing Motorola (MOT) for patent infringments related to Android, Steve Ballmer tells the Wall Street Journal that HTC is paying a license fee for its use of Android...and that other Android manufactures may be forced to do the same.WSJ: Is that difficult in an environment where Android MORE Seth Weintraub - Oct 3, 2010 10:59 PM ET
Oracle contends that Google's Android Operating System violates patents it picked up when it purchased Sun Microsystems.
In a press release posted after business today, Oracle (ORCL) charged that Google's (GOOG) Android OS infringes on Oracle patents and copyrights related to Java.
"In developing Android, Google knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle's Java-related intellectual property. This lawsuit seeks appropriate remedies for their infringement," Oracle spokeswoman Karen Tillman said in a statement.
The complaint alleges MORESeth Weintraub - Aug 12, 2010 10:11 PM ET
A Utah woman used Google Maps' walking directions on her Blackberry and was given directions to walk onto a highway. She got hit and is now suing Google for damages.
You know those warning labels on those chemical packets that come in new shoes that say 'do not eat'? Have you ever wondered why they have to print something so stupidly obvious?
Enter Lauren Rosenberg of Park City, Utah. She used Google MORESeth Weintraub - May 29, 2010 5:29 PM ET
Answers charges of patent "theft" with a polite press release and a Google e-mail address
Two weeks after Apple (AAPL) filed a pair of lawsuits against HTC for allegedly infringing on 20 iPhone-related patents, the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer broke its silence. In a series of press interviews and a statement released early Thursday morning, it said:
HTC advocates intellectual property protection
It has always respected other innovators' technologies and will continue to do MORE
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