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Apple iPod Antitrust Lawsuit Finally Underway

After a Decade, Antitrust Lawsuit Against Apple’s iPod and iTunes Underway

An antitrust lawsuit against Apple for its iTunes and iPod policies is finally underway in Oakland, California.

Court documents related to the antitrust lawsuit accuse Apple of creating a monopoly between 2006 and 2009, because iPods would only play songs purchased through iTunes, and the digital music players would not play music purchased legally through other digital music stores.

The antitrust lawsuit, filed in 2005 and since modified, it centers around updates for iTunes software that plaintiffs claim limited their iPods’ ability to play music, and sometimes deleted non-iTunes songs.

“The evidence will show that Apple made changes to software after top executives learned that competitors had figured out a way to have their songs play on the iPod,” said plaintiffs’ attorneys. “There was a concern that this would eat into their market share.”

The antitrust lawsuit focuses on two updates to iTunes in 2006 and 2007 – versions 7.0 and 7.4, respectively. One of the updates reportedly “bricked” the user’s iPod if they tried to upload music from a store other than iTunes, and the devices had to be reformatted. Some claims specifically involve software company RealNetworks, which intentionally launched a music service in competition with iTunes, and believes that at least one of the updates was intended to prevent their specific software from functioning in iPods.

“Apple implemented these changes for the purpose of blocking competition,” one prosecuting attorney said.

Opening statements began on Tuesday, December 2nd, and prosecutors used emails from top Apple executives including Steve Jobs to show that Apple intentionally blocked market share from other digital music sellers and digital music device makers, especially RealNetworks, who claimed to have created a digital music service that would work on iPods called “Harmony.”

“How’s this?” Jobs wrote in an email to executives in 2004. “‘We are stunned that Real is adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker and breaking into the iPod.'”

Apple’s attorneys responded that between 2005 and 2009, iPods only continued to get better – prices went down while storage capacity went up – and that was good for the consumers. Antitrust lawsuits are usually based on harm to the consumer.

“There should be no damages here because prices went down and quality went up,” Apple attorneys said.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Antitrust Lawsuits

The Strom Law Firm LLC’s business litigation practice is focused on representing individuals, officers, directors, public companies, and private corporations involved in complex civil disputes.

We concentrate our resources and efforts on business and commercial litigation involving:

  • Breach of contract claims
  • Business fraud
  • Interference with business activities or unfair competition
  • Antitrust lawsuits / price fixing allegations
  • Bank and lender liability
  • Insurance fraud and Securities Fraud
  • False Claims Act / “qui tam” whistleblower cases
  • Breach of warranty claims

When criminal charges arise, a South Carolina federal defense attorney at the Strom Law Firm, LLC will fight tirelessly to defend you against South Carolina antitrust violations. Founded in 1996 by a former US Attorney, we know what it takes to defend crimes not only on a state level, but also on a federal level as well. We are here to help you. Contact an experienced South Carolina federal antitrust defense attorney at the Strom Law Firm today for a free consultation. 803.252.4800



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