TechWeb

iPhone-Freeing Software On Hold After AT&T Call

Aug 27, 2007 (02:08 PM EDT)

Read the Original Article at http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=201802566


A company that claims it was ready to sell software to unlock iPhones said it will hold off for now.

UniquePhones announced on Aug. 25 that it was prepared to sell the software from its Belfast headquarters until a lawyer called at about 3 a.m. to inform them that the move could constitute copyright infringement and illegal software dissemination. The lawyer claimed he was calling on behalf of AT&T.

"UniquePhones is taking legal advice to ascertain whether AT&T was sending a warning shot or directly threatening legal action," the company stated in a blog post over the weekend. "The logistics of different continents as well as it being a weekend factors into how the situation develops."

UniquePhones indicated it would assess the potential legal ramifications of releasing the software and decide what to do if denied the right to sell it.

"A substantial delay caused by any legal action would render the unlocking software a less valuable commodity as well as creating unforeseen security issues for the company," the company said in a prepared statement.

The company claims to offer unlocking services for more than 1,500 handsets from leading companies like Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson.

It was one of three sources to announce this weekend that it had unblocked the iPhone. A New Jersey man, who started his first day on the Rochester Institute of Technology's campus Monday, also claimed to have unblocked the iPhone. A Web site called iPhonesSimFree also claimed to have cracked the code. The Web site said it would sell software to unlock the phones beginning next week.

Despite Apple's exclusive agreement with AT&T for the operation of the iPhone, the handheld device drew global media attention and long lines in several cities when it was released about two months ago.