Date
20 September 2017
Apple added an update to the iPod software restricting the device to music bought from the iTunes store. Photo: Bloomberg
Apple added an update to the iPod software restricting the device to music bought from the iTunes store. Photo: Bloomberg

Apple cleared in iPod antitrust case

A California jury handed Apple Inc. a victory in an antitrust case Tuesday, Reuters reported.

Jurors decided the tech giant did not act improperly when it forced users of its iPod portable music player to buy music exclusively from Apple’s iTunes digital store.

The plaintiffs, a group of individuals and businesses who bought iPods from 2006 to 2009, had sought about US$350 million in damages from Apple.

They alleged the firm introduced a software update that discouraged iPod owners from buying a competing device when it was time to upgrade.

RealPlayer, a digital song manager developed by Real Networks, allowed music purchased from that firm to be played on iPods as well as competing devices.

Apple introduced a software update that restricted the iPod to music bought on iTunes, which could not then be played on other devices. 

The firm argued the software update was meant to improve the consumer experience and contained many desirable features, including movies and auto-synchronization.

Jurors deliberated for only a few hours on the question of whether the update had benefited consumers.

Under US law, a company cannot be found to be anticompetitive if a product alteration was an improvement for customers.

The trial included video testimony given by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs shortly before he died in 2011.

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CG/FL

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