A group of deeply disgruntled ex-Apple resellers in the US have filed their fourth amended complaint against the computer giant in the Superior Court of Santa Clara. They will be back in court on the 22nd of June when a trial date should be set.
The group claim that Apple is unfairly favouring its own Apple Stores over independent dealers. Independent dealers believe they pay substantially more for kit than Apple Stores. Dealers also allege that they have trouble getting certain items of Apple kit while nearby Apple Stores have no such problems.
Apple always claimed that it wanted direct sales to appeal to new customers not to cannibalise its own channel partners. Apple opened its first Apple Store in May 2001 and it has more than 70 stores in the US. The first Apple Store in the UK is believed to be opening on Regent's Street later this year.
Tellonapple.org, the group's website, explains all in its breathless strap line: "Welcome! We love Apple's innovative products! Our case is a matter of business ethics and simply doing the right thing!"
The site is collecting evidence of alleged wrongdoing and publicising other actions - the group recently picketed Apple's shareholder meeting.
Apple is accused of offences including: breach of contract, false advertising, fraud, trade libel, defamation and intentional interference with prospective economic advantage.
The full complaint is available for download here. ®