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8/27/2009
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Apple, AT&T Sued For Misleading MMS Marketing

Apple and AT&T promised MMS messaging for the iPhone, but haven't delivered. Despite a disclaimer, a dissatisfied iPhone user believes laws have been broken.

A lawsuit filed in Ohio on Wednesday on behalf of plaintiff Deborah Carr charges Apple and AT&T with violating laws against deceptive trade practices and with breach of contract for claiming that the iPhone 3GS offers MMS messaging.

"Millions of customers, as a result of the false and deceptive representations and concealments of Apple and AT&T purchased the 3G and 3GS, waiting for the wonderful day in June 2009 when the new application would be available which would allow MMS," the court filing states. "Unfortunately, after downloading the new 3.0 Software Update application, MMS still did not work on both the 3G and 3GS."

The complaint details various Apple and AT&T support documents that discuss MMS messaging in conjunction with the iPhone. Though it acknowledges a disclaimer provided by Apple stating that MMS messaging won't be available until the end of summer, the lawsuit suggests that the disclaimer is written in a font so small that it is almost unreadable.

"The only excuse offered by AT&T and Apple is a mouseprint disclaimer on the Web site, in barely readable type, which reads 'MMS Support from AT&T coming in late summer,'" the complaint says.

That would give Apple and AT&T until September 22, 2009 at 5:18 pm EDT, when fall officially begins.

Apple's June 8 press release announcing the availability of the iPhone 3GS describes the updated iPhone 3.0 OS as "the world's most advanced mobile operating system with over 100 new features such as Cut, Copy and Paste, MMS*, Spotlight Search, landscape keyboard and more."

At the end of the release, the asterisk associated with the mention of MMS states: "MMS messaging is available only on iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS; fees may apply. MMS may not be available in all areas. MMS support from AT&T will be available in late summer."

The font size of this disclaimer is the same as that used for the body of the press release. On Apple's iPhone Web page, the disclaimer is smaller and less readable. However, modern Web browsers allow users to increase or decrease the font size used for Web page text at will.

An Apple spokesperson could not be reached for comment. Apple does not typically comment on pending litigation.

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