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Thu, Oct 11, 2007 - Page 10 News List

`Java phone' to challenge Apple

AP AND AFP , SEOULAND SAN FRANCISCO

Sun Microsystems Inc and Samsung Electronics Co are jointly developing a mobile phone to challenge Apple Inc's iPhone, a South Korean newspaper reported yesterday, quoting Sun chairman Scott McNealy.

McNealy said on Tuesday in Seoul that the companies were working on a "Java phone" that would surpass Apple's iPhone in functionality and cost less, the mass-circulation JoongAng Ilbo reported.

The Korean language report did not elaborate.

Spokespersons for Sun in South Korea and the US could not immediately be reached for comment.

Samsung spokeswoman Lee Soo-jeong in Seoul said "no decision has been made regarding co-development of the Java phone."

She said that a meeting has taken place between the two sides "to introduce the idea" but would not elaborate on its timing or any details.

Separately, a civil lawsuit filed in California accuses Apple of creating an unlawful iPhone monopoly and vindictively releasing a software update that turns hacked devices into "iBricks."

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Damian Fernandez on behalf of a California man, accuses Apple of creating a monopoly by barring US customers from choosing a cellphone service provider other than US telecom giant AT&T Inc.

The lawsuit also says Apple released last month a software update that disables iPhones that customers managed to unlock to choose another carrier.

Fernandez, who filed the lawsuit on Friday, is seeking "class action" status to expand the litigation to cover all US iPhone buyers.

In court documents, Fernandez estimates that Apple has sold 1.28 million iPhones since they went on sale in the US on June 29.

Several hundred thousand of those phones were hacked to enable them to connect to service providers other than AT&T, which has a five-year deal to be the exclusive US telephone service.

The lawsuit says Apple has created a monopoly by forcing iPhone buyers to use AT&T and not "unlocking" the devices to allow service by rival carriers.

An update released Sept. 27 for iPhone software disables hacked devices, turning the phones into "iBricks," the suit alleged.

Apple declined to comment.

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